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Detroit Tigers: Barry Bonds on Miguel Cabrera

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Jun 20, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) hits a two run home run in the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 20, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) hits a two run home run in the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Now that the Detroit Tigers and the Miami Marlins series is coming to an end, it’s time to end the debate on whether Miguel Cabrera or Barry Bonds is the better hitter.

According to Bonds, there is no question. He considers himself a better hitter than Cabrera.

In an article from CBS Detroit by Will Burchfield, Bonds’ exact words regarding the Triple-Crown-winning Cabrera were: “He’s close to me, but he’s not better than me, no.”

As the numbers go, Miguel Cabrera has not yet reached the heights that Bonds did during his playing time. Or have they?

In that same article, Cabrera was quoted at the end of the Tuesday night game. He said about Bonds: “I mean, he’s the greatest hitter of all time, so to me I appreciate that. I need to keep working hard. I [saw] him play, I played against him…he was the man.”

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It is only appropriate the Bonds can recognize a good hitter when he sees one. As the all-time home run leader and all-time walk leader in the MLB, Bonds knows a thing or two about hitting. But, his numbers will forever be tainted by the accusations of PED use that he continues to vehemently deny.

Jun 13, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) hits an RBI triple during the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 13, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) hits an RBI triple during the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports /

Not so for Miguel Cabrera. The two-time MVP has never been accused of using PEDs, mostly because Cabrera has never had a “cut” physique. In fact, his physique has been called “beer league” by The New York Times writer Mark Leibovich. Despite the lack of six-pack abs, Cabrera has been able to do what most men in the post-PED era have – earn the coveted Triple Crown.

Not even Barry Bonds could earn the Triple Crown. He was never able to get the best batting average, the most home runs, and the most RBIs in one season. He did, however, win the MVP 7 times in 22 seasons.

When comparing Cabrera and Bonds side-by-side in their first 14 years, there are some easy arguments that Cabrera is the better hitter.

These are the side-by-side statistics for the pair. Keep in mind that Cabrera has not yet completed his 14th season and these are Bonds’ complete career numbers through 14 seasons. At Cabrera’s current pace, he could reach 445 home runs by the end of 2016.

Bonds’ first year in the MLB was 1986 when he was 21 years old. His 14th season was 1999. His first three MVP seasons were 1990, ’92, and ’93. According to a timeline created by ESPN, Bonds’ first associations with anyone connected to PEDs was in 1998.

So, comparing the first 14 years of play between Cabrera and Bonds seems legitimate.

Looking purely at the numbers from the first 14 years (and Cabrera’s 14th season is not yet complete), it is clear who is the better hitter between Bonds and The Big Man. Even in their rookie seasons, Cabrera finished in the fifth spot in the Rookie of the Year awards while Bonds finished sixth.

Next: Are There Any Players Like Mark Fidrych Today?

There is no doubt that Barry Bonds is one of the best baseball players to ever grace the planet, but the number show that Cabrera is just a little bit better – especially when it comes to hitting. And, the fact that Cabrera’s numbers are not tainted, makes the numbers even more special. It sounds like both men are incorrect about each other’s abilities at the plate.

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