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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Miggy continues to make history

In Tuesday's game, Miguel Cabrera recorded his 100th (and later 101st) RBI on the season, becoming just the third hitter in franchise history with five straight 100-RBI seasons.

Wednesday, Cabrera hit his 30th homer in the first inning of the series finale with the Twins, becoming the first player in franchise history to record five straight 30-homer seasons.

No sense waiting around when you have a chance to make history.

"He’s a superstar. That’s what he is. He’s one of those guys that’s a couple notches above most people," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland the day Cabrera hit his 300th home run. "He’s having a wonderful, wonderful career so far. Hopefully it’ll be a long career, and hopefully end up in Cooperstown."

It's not like either of those streaks came out of nowhere, either. Cabrera has recorded 100-RBI seasons in all but the first of his 10, and has 30 homers in all but two (six straight).

"If you look at his years, it’s not surprising. I hope people really take notice and realize what you’re seeing. Those are the types of players that come around and then you retire their number after," Tigers catcher Alex Avila said back in July. "People need to realize that. He’s special."

Just how rare is what he's doing?

Only Hall of Famers Harry Heilmann (1923-29) and Charlie Gehringer (1932-36) had five or more consecutive 100-RBI seasons. Only Cecil Fielder (1990-93) and Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg (1937-40) had four straight 30-homer seasons for the franchise.


Per research by Venezuelan sportscaster Wilmer Reina, Cabrera is the fourth player since 1901 with eight seasons of 30 homers and 100 RBI before turning 30, along with Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez and Jimmie Foxx. Cabrera joins A-Rod, Pujols, Foxx and Mel Ott with nine 100-RBI seasons before turning 30.

Like Heilmann, Gehringer and Greenberg, Ott and Foxx are Hall of Famers. Pujols is a no-brainer to join them, as is A-Rod, provided voters don't get hung up in the performance-enhancing drug controversy. You'd have to think that Cabrera's certainly on that track, especially since he's already won a home-run title (2008), an RBI title (2010) and a batting title (2011) in his first four seasons in Detroit, and is in position to make a run at any or all of the three again in his fifth.

But will he do that here? You'd have to hope so.

It will certainly make for an interesting fiscal decision for the Tigers later this decade. Cabrera's current contract expires in 2015, a year after Justin Verlander's current deal is up. Then, there's the nine-year, $214 million deal the team signed Prince Fielder to in January, begging the question how long the team can go with three $20 million players.


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