When Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown in 2012 (.330 AVG. 44 HR, and 139 RBI), he became the first player to do so since Carl Yastrzemski did it back in 1967 (.326 AVG. 44 HR, and 121 RBI).
Baseball has evolved greatly over that time and the talent level league wide is undoubtedly at an all time high. The way the game is played has changed as well. There is such a premium placed on the bullpen that all teams have specialized arms to use in specific situations any given game may call for.
When you take a step back and consider all those factors, it makes what Miggy did that much more incredible. In his Triple Crown year, there were analysts and fans still making arguments for Mike Trout to be the MVP.
To this day, I don’t think enough people truly appreciate what kind of accomplishment winning the Triple Crown in the modern era of baseball truly was.
When they compare Miggy’s numbers at this stage in his career, they almost mirror what Hank Aaron did in a similar amount of games played. Usually when they compare something that Miggy has done stat wise, the pictures that he falls in company with are in black and white.
It is easy in this day and age to take things for granted. It is easy for us to have unreal expectations and be disappointed when they aren’t met.
“What do you mean Calvin Johnson is injured?! He’s not human. He should be able to play.”
In 2012, even with the lofty expectations that people have for Miggy, he somehow managed to exceed them. Since then, he has continued his pace of impressive offensive numbers while playing underrated defense.
I write this with the sole intent of encouraging perspective. Take a step back and appreciate greatness while we are in the moment. We are watching a once in a generation type talent on a nightly basis and again, it’s easy to take that for granted.
The chances that we will see another Triple Crown in our lifetime isn’t zero, but I don’t know of a player that is capable of such a feat.
Miggy is the type of talent that I will take pride in telling my kids about. Describing his majestic home runs, clutch moments in the heat of a pennant chase, and playing with a love for the game that seems unparalleled at times when you see his iconic smile.
His early career in Detroit was marred by headlines of bad decisions as a result of the bottle. It has been more than refreshing to see him not only grow into the player he is on the field, but also mature into the true professional he is off the field.
Despite all the trophies, accolades, and record breaking numbers, there is an intangible that Miggy brings to the table that can’t be measured by sabermetrics or any advanced statistics.
I ask that every now and then when you’re watching a Tigers game to take a step back and appreciate how fortunate we are to have him in our lineup everyday. Hopefully, we will be lucky enough to see him produce at a high level for many years to come.
One thing is for the sure, when it is all said and done… This man will have a statue next to Al Kaline and company in centerfield to solidify his immortality in Tigers history.