The Detroit Tigers honored Miguel Cabrera for his 500th home run and much more in a ceremony last night against the Kansas City Royals.
I am sure many Detroit Tigers fans read or witness the ceremony firsthand as the team honored Miguel Cabrera with a presentation of gifts. But the reason why I am writing this post today is that what we witness last night I believe is something we as Detroit Tigers fans will not see again for a long time.
Miguel Cabrera will be missed
Going to the game last night with my younger brother was something that stood out to me more so than the normal outing outside of the event itself. We discussed the trade that brought Cabrera over to Detroit and how even then since we have family in Miami, how they were pretty upset that he was heading north.
For anyone who watched the Tigers closely in the 1990s, having a player like Miguel Cabrera on the roster without the Juan Gonzalez hangups was a breath of fresh air. The complaining about the ballpark size, playing in the cold and the final nail in the coffin, Gonzalez did not sign the extension he was offered by Mike Ilitch, which was eight years, $140 million dollars which at the time, one of the largest ever offered.
I must admit, I was still in awe of Magglio Ordonez in 2008, who was fresh off of leading the American League in hitting with a .363 batting average. Ordonez was the first Tiger to win an AL batting crowd since Norm Cash in 1961 so he came aboard an established team that under manager Jim Leyland, was contenting a team that was up and coming. Even then, Leyland noticed something about Miggy’s swing.
Just like Leyland, we saw the maturation of Miguel Cabrera as his career continued in Detroit. The numbers in a Tigers uniform in his first eight seasons are ones that are unprecedented. I looked over three Detroit Tigers greats, who are in the Baseball Hall of Fame, where Miguel will be there someday soon.
From the age of 25 to 34, I also looked at Ty Cobb, Al Kaline, and Alan Trammell. His .957 OPS was second only to Cobb, who rocked a .979, followed by Al Kaline at .875 and Trammell with .796. Cobb was number one with a batting average of .379 with Miguel at .319, followed by Kaline at .296 and Trammell at .289.
To Miguel hugging Willie Horton as he was taking the wrap off his gift to his giving nature to the Detroit community by providing scholarships and getting supplies to Detroit Public Schools, that to me was the tip of the iceberg.
The countless clutch moments and having fellow Venzaulans wave the flag during games, that was such a different sight to see than in previous years going to Tigers games. Being a Hispanic male in Metro Detroit, having a once-in-a-lifetime player embrace not only his heritage and being himself helped me feel more comfortable in my own skin. We all love Miguel Cabrera and I will continue to cherish these moments the Tigers put on for him.