Future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera hits 3,000 milestone at Comerica Park in downtown Detroit
On a hot summer night in Miami Gardens nearly twenty years ago, Miguel Cabrera wrote the storybook opening his major league career that most baseball players can only dream of.
In his MLB debut, the Florida Marlins rookie entered the batting box late in the eleventh inning, trailing by one run, with the home crowd in support. Tampa Bay Rays’ Al Levine threw a pitch right in the center of the plate and Cabrera, 20, absolutely ripped the seam, throwing it over the center field wall for the home run, a Marlins win and his first major league success. The Venezuelan hitter had put the world on notice, and everyone could tell right away how special he was going to be.
It was June 20, 2003. Fast forward to this Saturday and we could see just how extraordinary his 19-year run has been as he managed to score his 3,000th career success. The elusive career milestone comes less than a year after the slugger hit his 500th home run last August. He is only the 33rd player in baseball history to hit the 3,000 hit mark and only the seventh to do so while breaking 500 homers. Among his career accolades are two AL MVP awards, four AL batting titles, a Triple Crown (led AL in batting average/home runs/rbi) and a 2003 World Series championship with the Florida Marlins.
He burst onto the major league scene as a Marlin, winning the World Series title in his freshman year. He would spend five memorable years in Miami before a successful trade at the end of 2007 sent him to the Detroit Tigers, where he would spend the last 14 years of his illustrious career and become a local hero.
Through it all, Cabrera managed to maintain an unreal .310 batting average, the highest of any active player with over 3,000 plate appearances. Not to mention a better average than Yankee great Derek Jeter. What makes his average even more incredible is that he boasts over 11,000 plate appearances (AP), one of the highest AP numbers on the list of most effective hitters in history. . This means Cabrera was able to sustain his stellar output for up to twice as long as some baseball legends, who might have a higher career average. The man they call “Miggy” has had pitcher nightmares for two decades. On Saturday, in front of his audience once again, his efforts resulted in this historic success.
In Saturday’s game against the Colorado Rockies, Cabrera took a 1-1 fastball from pitcher Antonio Senzatela and sent it in the opposite direction to right field, a career-defining strategy. His 3,000th shot was a ground ball with a low exit speed of 86 mph, but due to Cabrera’s pinpoint accuracy, there were no outfielders around to put a glove on.
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Cabrera’s ability to put the ball where the defense isn’t is the result of tireless dedication to his craft and fierce discipline at home plate. The 6’4″ right-hander towers over many of his MLB counterparts, but attributes his success to hitting like a little guy. “I don’t care how tall or how tall you are,” Cabrera preaches, “if you want to hit for average and power, you have to be short on the ball. That’s it. Short on the ball, simple as that.
There aren’t many better tips than Cabrera for advice, which Tigers manager AJ Hinch says has been invaluable to his young Detroit team. “The [are] so many lessons to be learned, but just soak it in and enjoy every minute of it. These players, Miggy, might be the first Hall of Famer they’ve ever played with,” Hinch said, “you can put it in that perspective. It’s pretty amazing that we’re part of it. »
Although the past few years have been a bit rough for the Tigers, Detroit fans will fondly remember the 2012 season which saw Cabrera earn his first career MVP and carry the Tigers to the World Series before ultimately falling to the Giants. from San Francisco. The first baseman and designated hitter is a beloved figure in Detroit sports culture and Tigers general manager Al Avila believes that stems from Cabrera’s genuine character. “His humility, his passion for having fun and his genuine love for the city of Detroit is completely unmatched,” said Avila, who was the Marlins’ scouting director who signed the Venezuelan slugger to his rookie contract at the United States. adolescence.
Miggy is one of the few players in the league who is universally loved. No matter what stadium he enters, he is greeted with cheers and showered with adulation. His former team, now named the Miami Marlins, still has strong ties with the eleven-time All-Star. Current Marlins captain and shortstop Miguel Rojas, a friend of Cabrera and a fellow Venezuelan, put his friend’s pursuit for 3,000 chips into perspective.
“All of us Venezuelans are so proud of how Miguel Cabrera is achieving more and more goals… He becomes the whole Venezuelan country he represents. We are all excited. When he started hitting those goals and getting closer [milestone], each at-bat paralyzed the whole country. Everyone is watching. He’s a big figure, not just in baseball, but also outside of the game because of everything he’s done in Venezuela.
Cabrera has one year left on his contract with the Tigers and has expressed his intention to play out the remainder of his contract before hanging up his boots. “I would say thank goodness for the opportunity and say two more years and I’m done,” the seasoned veteran said last year after hitting his 500th through ball. If he retires in 2023, we will no doubt be watching his Hall of Fame. acceptance speech at Cooperstown in 2029, when he will become eligible for the honor.
With next year likely to be his last professional season, Miguel Cabrera is taking a moment to stop and smell the roses, but he still has one item on his career wish list. A World Series trophy for Detroit. “But I’m going to feel more proud if in my last two years here in Detroit we can win a championship. Because the city of Detroit, the Tigers organization, they deserve it. They deserve a championship,” says Cabrera. “I hope we can do it.”