Miggy Joins 500 Club But Might Be Last To Accomplish Something Else

Detroit Tigers v Toronto Blue Jays

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He sat on 499 a while but Miguel Cabrera finally hit his 500th home run to become the 28th player to do so. But Cabrera might be accomplishing two feats we may never see again.

The future hall-of-famer is now sitting on 2,955 hits and Cabrera may be the last player to get 500 home runs and 3,000 hits in a career and he may be the last to get to those numbers in each category.

The list of greats to achieve 3,000 hits and 500 home runs in a career? Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray, Rafael Palmiero, Alex Pujols and Alex Rodriguez.

Cabrera was signed by the Marlins as a amatuer free agent in 1999 as a shortstop at the age of 17. He advanced in the minor league system along with Dontrelle Wilils and Adrian Gonzalez- who was the top overall pick in 2000.

By 2003, Cabrera was called up to the Marlins on June 20th and hit home run number one in a walk-off fashion as the Marlins beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He went to record 18 postseason hits as the Marlins won the World Series beating the New York Yankees in six games.

Now, at age 38, Miguel Cabrera is winding down a brilliant career that includes two MVPs, 11 all-star game appearances, a triple crown and four batting titles. But we may be watching the last person to hit 500 home runs in a career and he may be the last person to get to 3,000 hits.

Cabrera may not get to 3,000 hits before this season ends. The Tigers have 36 games left and he is 45 hits away. But it's safe to assume he has enough left in the tank to get to next season and become the 33rd player to reach 3,000 hits. 

Among active players only Albert Pujols with 677 homers sits in front of Cabrera. But what about those active players behind Miggy? Tampa's Nelson Cruz has 443 home runs at age 40. It's possible Cruz can get to 500 and based on his current pace that would come by 2023 if Cruz is still playing at age 42. Who is behind Cruz? Robinson Cano with 334. Cano was suspended for the 2021 season after testing positive for a performance enhancing drug. He ain't getting to 400, let alone 500. Giancarlo Stanton has 332. Stanton is 31 but injury prone. It's possible he could hit an average of 25 per season for the next seven seasons, but that assumes he stays healthy.

Mike Trout has 310 home runs at age 29. If healthy, Trout certainly is on a pace for 500. Bryce Harper has 255 and is just 28 years old. But Harper is in his 10th season already and would need a run of healthy and productive long ball seasons.

As for who might be able to get to 3,000 hits, that's a tougher one. Cano has 2,624 and we already discussed his future. Yadier Molina has 2,087 hits but is 38 years old. Joey Votto has 2,004 hits and he's 37. There are no other active players above 2,000 hits. Jose Altuve, at 31, has 1,736. Trout leads all active players under the age of 30 with 1,419 but again that's in 11 seasons. He would need an incredible run to get to 3,000.

It appears 500 home runs might be attainable by a few but 3,000 hits may not be possible for anyone that is 8-10 years into a career. Add the fact we are in the home run, strikeout or walk era and present players may just not get anywhere close to 200 hits in a season and you would need to average that for 15 straight seasons.

So let us salute Miguel Cabrera. He may be the last of the great hitters at a time in baseball where we are adjusting magical numbers to reach like 300 wins or 20 games or even hitting .340 or more in a season. Players don't play as long because the money is so good and MLB may even cut the number of regular season games in the coming years that these exclusive clubs for on-field achievements may be closed forever.

Final thought: Miguel Cabrera has four year remaining on his contract, the last two are player-option years. If he completes the contract he will have made over $336M in his career.

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