Curtis Granderson had a chance Wednesday night to tie his old teammate Miguel Cabrera for the AL home run lead and put the dreaded asterisk next to the Detroit Tiger's historic Triple Crown feat.
The Yankees outfielder already slugged two home runs against the Boston Red Sox — giving Granderson a career-high 43 for the season — and pulled himself within a single home run of tying Cabrera for the AL lead — when manager Joe Girardi asked Granderson if he wanted one last at-bat.
The Yankees were already blowing out the Red Sox, 14-2, in the seventh inning when Girardi approached his hot-hitting center fielder.
"No," Granderson told the manager. "Give it to Melky [Mesa]."
By passing on the at-bat, Granderson avoided any chance of getting No. 44 and tainting Cabrera's magical season. The pass secured Cabrera's Triple Crown title — the major league's first in 45 years.
Cabrera had already compiled a league-leading 139 RBI, .330 batting average and the 44 home runs when he was pulled from his final game in Kansas City.
"I wanted to get Melky [Mesa] in there to hit again," Granderson explained, referring to the rookie who had just one at-bat. "I didn't think about it until CC [Sabathia] saw me sitting down. he said, 'Man, you could have had one more up there.' I was looking at the innings and where we were, and I could have had another at-bat."
"The funny thing is, earlier in the day, I taped a congratulations video to Miguel [for winning the Triple Crown]," said Granderson, who played together on the Tigers in 2008 and 2009. "That would have been a weird situation."
Granderson said he wasn't bothered by conceding the home run title — and a chance to be in the record books — by having Mesa pinch-hit for him.
Was it because he didn't want any chance of ruining Cabrara's season for the ages on the last night, as it was suggested.
"I was just asking all those questions if I knew," replied the popular Granderson. "What would have happened , how would it have been perceived, whether it would have been tied. It would have been a confusing moment for me. But again, congrats to him. An amazing hitter. An amazing teammate. And a lot of fun to watch."
It sounds like Grandy is the amazing one.