DETROIT — Miguel Cabrera became the 33rd player in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits on Saturday, delivering a single off Colorado Rockies right-hander Antonio Senzatela to right field in the first inning at Comerica Park in the first doubles match.
Cabrera sent the third pitch of the offense against Senzatela, on a 1-1 count, on the ground between first and second for history. Former teammate Jose Iglesias, a 2013-18 Tigre, was the first to embrace Cabrera on the pitch.
The 39-year-old Venezuelan is one of the greatest hitters of all time, and he is arguably the best right-handed hitter of his generation. His Hall of Fame-worthy resume is stacked: The 20-year MLB veteran is a longtime Detroit Tigers icon, a three-time Crown winner, a World Series champion, two-time MVP, 11-time All -Star and seven times Silver Slugger.
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“That’s ancient history,” Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario said recently. “He’s a Hall of Famer to me, to a lot of guys, to everyone.”
“When we’re long gone, they’ll still be talking about Miguel Cabrera,” Tigers outfielder Robbie Grossman said. “In 100 years they will still be talking about Miguel Cabrera. It only happens once every hundred years.”
Saturday’s milestone followed three singles Wednesday night against the New York Yankees as Cabrera soared to 2,999 hits: a hit at third in the second inning, clean ground midway through the fourth inning and a dribbler at the broken bat between the shortstop and third base in the sixth inning. He knocked out in the eighth inning.
Cabrera went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts Thursday, coming closest to a hit on his first at-bat, a high volley to left field in the first inning. He was unlikely to get a fourth plate appearance on Thursday, but the Tigers, leading 1-0, put two runners in scoring position with two outs in the eighth inning to bring him back one last time. Yankees manager Aaron Boone intentionally walked Cabrera, so the wait for 3,000 people continued.
Seven months ago, Cabrera hit another elite milestone: 500 career home runs. He hammered a substitution from Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Steven Matz (now with the St. Louis Cardinals) over the right-center field wall in the sixth inning on Aug. 22 at Rogers Center in Toronto.
Cabrera is one of seven players in MLB history with at least 500 home runs and 3,000 hits, joining Pujols, Rodriguez, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray and Rafael Palmeiro. There’s an even rarer club in this one that’s close at hand: Only Aaron and Pujols also have 600 doubles, with Cabrera at 599.