Legends On Deck

Miggy’s Milestones

When Miguel Cabrera popped his 500th career Home Run on August 23, 2021 he would become the 28th player to join that club.  In the first inning of his game on April 23, 2022, Cabrera would become the 33rd player to earn 3,000 career hits.  Each accomplishment on it’s own might have won him a ticket to Cooperstown.

However, when you combine 500+ Home Runs with 3,000+ hits, Miguel Cabrera becomes just the 7th player to ever do this.  He joins the ranks of Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Eddie Murray, Alex Rodriguez, Rafael Palameiro and Albert Pujols.  There’s a solid list of the greatest players who are not part of this club.  Babe Ruth had 714 Home Runs, yet he had 2,872 hits.  Ted Williams had 524 Home Runs, but 2,654 hits.  Stan Musial had 3,630 hits, but fell short with 475 Home Runs.  When you think of some of the elite hitters of all-time, it’s hard to ignore Miguel Cabrera‘s record.

Among his contemporaries, only Albert Puljos surpasses his statistical feats.  Both men have eared the right to be on the short list of greatest right-handed hitters of all time.  Yet, Cabrera was able to accomplish something even Pujols couldn’t do.  He won the Triple Crown in 2012, an accomplishment not seen since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.  Miggy joined another shortlist of just 14 Triple Crown winners.

Miguel Cabrera, Tiger King?

Had Miggy played his entire career with the Marlins, he would have easily been the greatest player in franchise history. However, the Detroit Tigers draw from a hundred plus year history.  They have 10 players in the Hall of Fame who played the majority of their games for the franchise and 24 players overall who played some of their career in Detroit.  Despite the long list of players, there’s only two hitters who are worthy of comparing to Cabrera;  Al Kaline and Ty Cobb.  Both Kaline and Cobb are members of the 3,000 hit club, but neither come close in Home Runs (Cobb played during the Dead Ball Era).

  • Kaline:   3007 Hits, 399 Home Runs, 1582 RBIs, .297 BA, .855 OPS (over 22 seasons)
  • Cobb:  4189 Hits, 117 Home Runs, 1944 RBIs, .366 BA, .944 OPS (over 24 seasons)
  • Cabrera:  3008 Hits, 503 Home Runs, 1811 RBIs, .310 BA, .918 OPS (over 20 seasons)

Looking purely at the numbers, it seems clear that Cabrera has passed Al Kaline in terms of all-time greatest Tiger hitters.  He recently surpassed his hit total and posted much greater power over his career.  While Kaline may always be Mr. Tiger, Miggy has clearly moved ahead on the statistics side.  It’s likely not so when it comes to comparing him to Ty Cobb.  The case could be easily made that Ty Cobb is the greatest hitter in the history of professional baseball.  He ranks number one in Batting Average and has only been passed by Pete Rose in terms of hits.

Going Forward

The biggest questions that remain for Miguel Cabrera is how long will be play and how productive will he be?  His eight year contract with the Tigers runs out at the end of the 2023 season.  This gives him at least 2022 and 2023 to add to his career totals.  This will likely move him into the top 20 all-time in terms of hits and Home Runs.  On May 7, Miggy hit career double number 600, placing him in an even more exclusive category, which includes only the likes of Hank Aaron and Albert Pujols (3,000 hits, 500 homers, 600 doubles).  The reality is, if Miguel Cabrera’s career ended tomorrow, his place among the greatest ballplayers of all-time is already secured.  Everything going forward is just icing on the cake.

**Picture from ClickOnDetroit**

Brian Koss
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