Miguel Cabrera has joined one of the most exclusive clubs in Major League Baseball.
The Tigers star hit his 500th career home run on Sunday afternoon in Toronto.
The man also known as Miggy went away from Blue Jays pitcher Steven Matz with a center right shot in the sixth inning. Cabrera is only the 28th player in MLB history to reach the 500 mark.
Jon Morosi covers baseball for the MLB network and contributes to Fox Sports Radio and other outlets. He spoke with Michigan Radio’s Morning edition on the Cabrera quarry.
Forever a 500 Home Run Hitter …
Eternally a baseball legend …
Always a Tiger.
– Bally Sports Detroit (@BallySportsDET) August 22, 2021
As Detroit fans celebrate the moment, it might sound like Cabrera has always been a Tiger, but he played his first five seasons with the Florida Marlins. Morosi said Cabrera’s incredible hand-eye coordination helped him stand out from the start. In 2004, in his second season, he was an All-Star.
“He’s just one of the best right-handed hitters we’ve seen in the history of the game. He’s in the conversation among the best half-dozen, I would say, of all time,” said Morosi, who lives in Michigan and covered the Tigers for the Detroit Free Press when Cabrera joined the team in 2008.
“He became a left fielder for the Marlins in 2003 because they had Mike Lowell on third base, and he helped that team win the World Series in ’03, [with] that iconic home run against Roger Clemens in the World Series. He had that magic in his bat from a young age. “
The Marlins traded Cabrera to Detroit ahead of the 2008 season. He led the American League in home runs that year. In 2012, he led the league in batting average, homers and RBIs, becoming the first player to win the Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski with the Boston Red Sox in 1967.
Morosi has said for several years that Cabrera is simply dominant.
“In baseball, we rarely have a player who can dominate a game. It’s not like basketball where LeBron James is on the field for most of the game and his greatness is all over the place. But Miguel Cabrera had even struck down. four or five times per game, ”he said. “And it felt like the whole game was played out in response to this reality, where the other manager, the other pitchers were always aware of when Number 24 was going to come to bat for the Tigers.”
Along with home runs and other big moments at home plate, Morosi believes Cabrera’s durability during his prime was key.
“I think the other part of his greatness, especially in those years, was the pride he had in being available in every game. He didn’t spend a day on the injured list until the 13th. season of his major league career. By that time, he had played nearly 1,900 games in Major League Baseball, “he said.
Although he won a World Series ring in his rookie season with the Marlins, Cabrera has yet to win another in Detroit. Cabrera has played for a few Tigers teams considered likely title contenders, but he has only reached the World Series once since joining the club in 2012 and lost.
“I don’t think Tiger fans blame Cabrera for the fact that these teams didn’t win the World Series at the start of the last decade. He really was still a very productive hitter, I always thought, during But there’s no doubt there’s a certain unsatisfied nature about this era of Tigers baseball, ”Morosi said.
Cabrera is 38 years old and has suffered a few injuries in recent years. His strikes have diminished considerably and he is under a huge contract that lasts at least two more seasons. It’s common for powerful hitters to sign long-term contracts and see their production fall behind when the deal ends. But it does create moments of mixed emotions for the fans. The Tigers could improve faster without Cabrera’s contract on the books. But he also wears the Tigers uniform – and draws large crowds – as he nears important career milestones. (Cabrera is also getting close to another of MLB’s most expensive brands: 3,000 career hits.)
Morosi says Cabrera’s attitude is also important.
“His love of the game hasn’t waned. There was a point in a recent game where he was in the dugout going through the scout reports on an iPad with a number of their young pitchers,” did he declare. “You can tell he’s still engaged as a teammate and that matters.”
And in the twilight of Cabrera’s career, the veteran baseball reporter sees a story that speaks to many fans.
“I think there is a curiosity – and even a joy – [in] the question of how often can a truly great player, in the last years of his career, still summon this greatness. And we’ve seen times of that this year as Cabrera has raced 500 circuits, ”said Morosi.
“It makes you smile. It makes you feel a little younger when you see him have this success. It has been a great career in every way, and the Tigers and their fans are lucky moments as a result.”
Lauren Talley contributed to this story.