The best players force the manager to change the rules. Specifically, one rule: that annoying lineup requirement that dictates that each hitter’s turn come. With Miguel Cabrera on your team, waiting is the hardest part.
“I wish he could come fire every shift,” Jack McKeon, 91, said on the phone this week from his home in North Carolina. “He hit the victim’s fly, hit the homerun, got a basic hit, even to the point where he hit the ground ball, which is what his name started in Bartman’s game.” He was a catalyst. Something good was going on with that guy. “
Cabrer was 20 years old and played for the then Florida Marlins when his bouncer overturned Chicago Cubs short stop Alex Gonzalez in the fateful sixth game of the 2003 National League Championship Series. The mistake helped turn Steve Bartman – a fan who had averted a foul on the left field line in the innings – from a footnote to a central point when the Marlins attacked the World Series with wins in games 6 and 7.
At that time, Cabrera collected only 84 career interventions in the basic part. On Saturday, the single against the Colorado Rockies at Comerica Park became 3,000th 33rd player in major league history.
After picking up three hits to reach 2,999 on Wednesday, Cabrer’s quest for 3,000 hits was delayed by a 0-on-3 Thursday (and a deliberate late-in-game walk), as well as rain, which postponed Friday’s scheduled wrestle. against Colorado.
The act finally came in the first inning of Saturday afternoon’s match, when Cabrera chose Antonia Senzatelu, Venezuela. The Rockies short, José Iglesias, who played with Cabrera on the Tigers, came to hug his former teammate when the Tigers ran onto the pitch to great him as well. A moment later, Cabrera went to the home plate to celebrate with his mother, wife, son and daughter.
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Cabrera added a two-round single at the bottom of the sixth inning for hit No. 3,001 and was subsequently removed due to a pinch-runner. The crowd at Comerica Park gave him a standing ovation and the Tigers, which he often wore over the years, eventually defeated the Rockies 13-0.
In 2003, the first hit of Cabrer’s career came in hand: a two-wheel winning home run at the bottom of the 11th inning on June 20, 2003 in Miami Gardens, Florida. As a result, he became one of the few players to appear on the two most prestigious baseball rosters.
Only six more scored 3,000 hits and 500 home runs: Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray, Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez. From this group, Cabrera had the best batting average (0.310) and a basic percentage (0.387) before Saturday’s matches.
Cabrer’s numbers will change and most likely fall before he retires; is signed with Detroit by 2023. In the meantime, however, they underline Cabrer’s skill as a pure shooter. He’s not exactly a free swinger, but his goal is to hit the base. Only two players with 500 homers (Sammy Sosa and Ernie Banks) have fewer career walks.
Cabrera won four batting titles over a five-year period, from 2011 to 2015. Only two other right-handed batters in the integrated major leagues, Roberto Clemente and Bill Madlock, collected four batting titles. No matter how great they were, neither Clemente nor Madlock ever hit 30 homers a season. Cabrera did it 10 times.
Cabrer was 16 years old when the Marlins signed him from Venezuela in 1999 for $ 1.9 million. Four years later, he scored a Class AA Southern League with the Carolina Mudcats with an average of 0.365 and a stick-down percentage of 0.609 in 69 games. played mostly third base and Mike Lowell was based in Miami.
This did not bother McKeon, who took over as manager in May. His team had some promising young pitchers, but needed more punches to the lineup. McKeon would find a place for a bat like Cabrera.
“I knew he couldn’t play third because we had Mike Lowell, but I’ll put him in reserve – don’t worry, we’ll find out,” McKeon said. “And he went to the left field like no one.”
Cabrera played only three junior matches in the left field, but in his first week in the major, he played there every day. In October 2003, McKeon transferred Cabrera to the right field. He has never played in this position, but has played in seven of Marlins’ last 10 post-season matches on their way to World Series victory over the Yankees.
Cabrera at bat in the first inning of Game 4 in Florida foreshadowed the greatness to come. Roger Clemens fired a fast ball from the first throw at 94 miles per hour, high and inside, with a classic brushback from a self-proclaimed gunslinger. Cabrera stared back at Clemense, enduring seven throws and drilling another fast ball over the fence in the right center of the field at 94 miles per hour – up and down.
“It didn’t scare the guy,” McKeon said. “He wasn’t intimidated.” The guy was confident and knew he had it. “
After another 13 seasons, Cabrera showed it with remarkable consistency and durability. From 2004 to 2016, he fired more than any other major league player – and also produced at top speed. Of the 104 players who played at least 5,000 plates this season, Cabrera had the best at the base plus a drop percentage: 0.968.
He did the most damage with the Tigers, who traded six players for him and left-handed pitcher Dontrelle Willis in December 2007. Two of the players – midfielder Cameron Maybin and left-handed pitcher Andrew Miller – will have a long career. But the deal was a coup for the Tigers, who would win four consecutive division titles and the American League flag in Cabrera’s best years.
After his 2012 season with the Triple Crown, the Tigers rewarded Cabrera with an eight-year contract for $ 240 million, which will not begin until 2016. The deal was exaggerated; Cabrera’s production inevitably declined and was roughly the league average over the last five seasons. The tigers have failed in the table and are still rebuilding.
But the treaty, if nothing else, ensured that Cabrer’s milestones would become the Tigers, the team that benefited most from the promise he made at the age of 20. Of course, McKeon never changed the basics of baseball, but he was definitely right. about Cabrer.
Something really was going on with that guy.