You know what they say, “There’s no crying in Baseball”… However, just over five months from now when the sunsets on Miguel Cabrera’s phenomenal career, I can almost guarantee that Miggy and Tigers fans watching from around the world will shed some tears.
When Cabrera entered the big leagues in 2003, he was a 185-pound versatile player who spent time at shortstop, third base, and in the outfield. Miggy has played for only two MLB franchises in his career. Back in his rookie season (2003), he made an impact immediately for the Miami Marlins. Cabrera’s first career hit happened to be a home run. Not only was it a home run, but it was a pinch hit dinger. It also just so happened to be a pinch hit WALK-OFF home run. He famously took a pie to the face from a teammate as he touched home plate. Cabrera created some great memories for himself, his teammates, and the fans of Miami during his time with the Marlins. Cabrera and the Marlins went on to win the World Series in 2003. Winning it all was one of Miggy’s best moments in Miami. Another notable one came in 2006 when the Baltimore Orioles attempted to intentionally walk Cabrera. Miggy reached out and sent an RBI single to right-center field.
Cabrera started his career with the Tigers the same way he did with the Marlins. Cabrera hit a home run in his first game with Detroit. Tigers fans will always remember him as a slugger who made it look easy when he sent baseballs into the seats but also a hitter who always found a way on base no matter how he did it. Most importantly, though, Tigers fans will remember him as a person. They say that baseball is a kid’s sport, and he never lost sight of how important it was to have fun. He stands out among other greats because of his personality and the passion he plays the game with.
I asked Detroit Tigers TV analyst Craig Monre what he will miss most about Cabrera once he retires, and this is what he said:
The joy in which he plays the game with. He’s been big a kid out there.
I think many of the people who’ve been around Miggy for most of his career would answer similarly. Cabrera’s personality stands out among other legends of the sport.
I asked a different question to former Detroit Tigers right-handed pitcher Buck Farmer. I asked Farmer what his favorite memory of playing with Miggy was, he said:
Favorite memory with Miggy would just be how he is as a teammate. The vibrancy and passion for the game he brought every day. He was the epitome of being a grown man but a kid at heart playing every day.
Different question, but a similar answer. Miggy’s going to be remembered by all as one of the greatest baseball players of all time, but he will be remembered most for his passion for the sport.
Heroes Are Remembered, But Legends Never Die
When I think about Miguel Cabrera’s final season, I think about a scene from the iconic baseball film Sandlot. I’m referring to the one where Babe Ruth’s ghost, played by Art LaFleur, appears in Benny the Jet Rodriguez’s dream and tells him “Heroes are remembered, but legends never die”. Miggy will forever be a legend in Detroit. However, in Venezuela, Miggy is a larger-than-life icon. At just 16 years old, he had already signed with a professional baseball team in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League and also signed with the Miami Marlins as an amateur free agent. In 2003, he became the second youngest Marlin to ever make his debut, only behind Édgar Rentería. Miggy has given back to the community through the Miguel Cabrera Foundation. In 2012, he began the foundation to help a variety of children’s funds. He also uses his foundation to encourage young kids to play baseball and softball. In 2012 and 2013, Cabrera was nominated by his team for the Roberto Clemente Award, honoring the MLB player who best represents baseball on and off the field. Miguel Cabrera isn’t just an icon on the field, but he’s an icon of it as well.
Miggy’s Career Achievements
Miggy has accomplished a ton in his 20-year career. Some of his recent accomplishments include: reaching 3,000 hits, 500 home runs, and 600 doubles. Only three players have done that – Cabrera, Albert Pujols, and the late great Hank Aaron. Cabrera was also selected to his 12th All-Star game in 2022. If you aren’t familiar with all that Miggy’s accomplished in his career, here is a full list of what he’s been able to accomplish over the last 20 years.
2× AL Most Valuable Player (2012, 2013)
2× Baseball Digest Player of the Year (2012, 2013)
2× Florida Marlins Most Valuable Player (2004, 2006)
2× GIBBY/This Year in Baseball Award for Hitter of the Year (2012, 2013)
2× Hank Aaron Award (2012, 2013)
5× Luis Aparicio Award (2005, 2011−2013, 2015)
12× MLB All-Star (2004−2007, 2010−2016, 2022)
6× MLB Player of the Month
15× MLB Player of the Week
2× MLB Player of the Year (2012, 2013)
2× NL Rookie of the Month
2× Players Choice Award for American League Outstanding Player (2012, 2013)
2× Players Choice Award for Major League Player of the Year (2012, 2013)
7× Silver Slugger Award (2005, 2006, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016)
2× The Sporting News Player of the Year Award (2012, 2013)
4× Tiger of the Year (2008, 2010, 2012, 2013) by the BBWAA-Detroit Chapter
500 home run club
3,000 hit club
4× AL batting champion (2011−2013, 2015)
AL Batting Triple Crown (2012)
2× League champion (2003, 2012)
World Series champion (2003)
4× Batting champion (2011−2013, 2015)
2× Doubles leader (2011, 2014)
Extra base hits leader (2012)
Games played leader (2011)
2× Home run leader (2008, 2012)
2× Intentional bases on balls leader (2010, 2016)
4× On-base percentage leader (2010, 2011, 2013, 2015)
4× On-base plus slugging percentage leader (2012, 2013)
2× Runs batted in leader (2010, 2012)
2× Slugging percentage leader (2012, 2013)
2× Total bases leader (2008, 2012)
Cabrera will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer and soon he will have a statue at Comerica Park. Miggy has had a huge impact on the game, and that impact will be felt even after this season ends and he retires.