Miguel Cabrera became the 28th member of Major League Baseball’s 500-homer club with his solo shot off Steven Matz in Toronto on Aug. 22, 2021. He’ll enter the 2022 season just 13 hits shy of becoming the 33rd player to reach 3,000. We already have a compilation of Miggy’s biggest home runs, but here’s a look at some of the biggest hits of his career:
1. June 20, 2003 vs. Rays: Walk-off in MLB debut
We’re trying not to go too heavy on homers here, but the original will always be the best. Cabrera was just 20 years, two months and two days old when he made his Major League debut for the Florida Marlins. After outs in each of his first four at-bats, Cabrera stepped to the plate in the 11th inning with the winning run on second and sent an Al Levine pitch deep to straightaway center at Pro Player Stadium.
2. Oct. 4, 2003 vs. Giants: Go-ahead single in NL Division Series Game 4
This doesn’t count in his hit total, but it’s significant nonetheless in the Marlins’ 2003 World Series run. The Marlins had a chance to finish off the 100-win Giants in Miami, but had squandered a 5-1 lead. Cabrera, who had a two-run single earlier but also had struck out with the bases loaded in his previous at-bat, hit the first pitch he saw from Félix Rodríguez into right field. Iván Rodríguez knocked away the throw home to take back the lead and send the Marlins on their way to the NLCS.
3. June 22, 2006 at Orioles: Intentional walk becomes RBI single
Todd Williams wanted no part of pitching to Cabrera with first base open and the go-ahead run in scoring position in the 10th inning. But back in the day, pitchers had to throw four balls to complete an intentional walk. Williams’ first pitch was a slow breaking ball close enough to the plate for Cabrera to connect, lacing a line drive to center for a Marlins lead and a Miggy moment for the ages.
4. Oct. 1, 2012 at Royals: Miggy helps Tigers clinch Central with four-hit game
Among the challenges Cabrera had on his way to his historic Triple Crown in 2012 was a close batting race with then-rookie Mike Trout. A four-hit game in Kansas City not only helped seal his first and only 200-hit season and his second straight batting title, it helped clinch the Tigers’ second straight AL Central crown. All four hits went to center or right field.
5. April 5, 2014 vs. Orioles: Miggy’s 2,000th hit is a no-doubter
When a milestone hit leaves the yard, it has to make the list. Miggy’s 2,000th hit was a drive to left off Ryan Webb to complete a four-hit game.
6. May 17, 2016 vs. Twins: Miggy’s last triple?
Cabrera’s hit list includes 17 career triples, five of them as a Tiger. His most recent was this drive to the depths of Comerica Park’s right-center field off Phil Hughes.
7. Sept. 18, 2016 at Cleveland: Miggy reaches 2,500 career hits
Cabrera’s 2,500th career hit was an opposite-field single off Trevor Bauer in Cleveland. With that, Cabrera became the youngest hitter to reach the mark since Hank Aaron.
8. Sept. 27, 2016 vs. Cleveland: Miggy posts five-RBI game as part of final-week tear
The Tigers made a late attempt at a playoff run in 2016 thanks to a hit parade from Cabrera, who hit .349 over the final month including two three-hit games in the final week. That included a five-RBI game in a 12-0 win over Cleveland.
9. Aug. 30, 2020 vs. Twins: Miggy’s 2,000th hit as a Tiger
Miggy became just the eighth player with 2,000 hits as a Tiger, and joined Albert Pujols as the second active player with that many hits for one club, with an RBI single off Kenta Maeda. The COVID-19 pandemic denied Cabrera the chance to celebrate in front of fans, but he still took a memorable curtain call.
10. May 12, 2021 vs. Royals: All-time Venezuelan hits leader
Before the round numbers grew close, Cabrera had another bit of pressure as he neared the all-time hits record for Venezuelan-born players. His RBI single off longtime foe Danny Duffy pushed him past Omar Vizquel for the mark, which he admitted was weighing on him.