DETROIT — Miguel Cabrera became the 33rd player in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits Saturday, delivering a single off Colorado Rockies right-hander Antonio Senzatela to right field in the first inning at Comerica Park in Game 1 of a doubleheader.
Cabrera sent the third pitch of the at-bat against Senzatela, on a 1-1 count, on the ground between first and second for history. Former teammate José Iglesias, a Tiger from 2013-18, was the first to hug Cabrera on the field.
The 39-year-old from Venezuela is one of the greatest hitters of all time, and he’s arguably the best right-handed hitter of his generation. His Hall of Fame-worthy résumé is stacked: The 20-year MLB veteran is a longtime Detroit Tigers icon, a Triple Crown winner, World Series champion, two-time MVP, 11-time All-Star and seven-time Silver Slugger.
EMPTY SEATS IN OAKLAND: Fans were listening to MLB, Athletics
PETE ROSE: MLB hit king on baseball embracing gambling
“This is history,” Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario said recently. “He’s a Hall of Famer for me, for a lot of guys, for everybody.”
“When we’re long gone, they’re still gonna be talking about Miguel Cabrera,” Tigers outfielder Robbie Grossman said. “100 years from now, they’re gonna still talk about Miguel Cabrera. This only happens every once every hundred-something years.”
Saturday’s milestone followed three singles Wednesday night against the New York Yankees as Cabrera climbed to 2,999 hits: an infield hit to third in the second inning, a clean grounder up the middle in the fourth inning and a broken-bat dribbler between shortstop and third base in the sixth inning. He struck out in the eighth inning.
Cabrera went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts Thursday, coming closest to a hit in his first at-bat, a high fly to left field in the first inning. It was doubtful he’d get a fourth plate appearance Thursday, but the Tigers, leading 1-0, put two runners in scoring position with two outs in the eighth inning to bring him up one final time. Yankees manager Aaron Boone intentionally walked Cabrera, so the wait for 3,000 continued.
Seven months ago, Cabrera reached another elite milestone: 500 career home runs. He hammered a changeup from Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Steven Matz (now with the St. Louis Cardinals) over the right-center field wall in the sixth inning Aug. 22 at Rogers Centre 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 within that one that’s well within reach: Only Aaron, and Pujols also have 600 doubles, with Cabrera at 599.