Miguel Cabrera Joins the 500 Home Run Club. Who Could be Next?
Author: Amy Cooper
Miguel Cabrera became the 28th player to hit 500 career home runs on Sunday. He has undoubtedly been one of the best players in the last 20 years and will go down in history as one of the greatest players of all time. Cabrera made his major league debut as a 20 year old on June 20th 2003. He was the third youngest player in the big leagues that year. He went on to win the World Series with the (then Florida) Marlins that year. He hit three home runs during the National League Championship Series and one during the World Series. He is the second youngest player to ever homer in a World Series game, following Andruw Jones, who was 19. In his first full MLB season, 2004, he had his first 30 homer campaign. This was the first of 10 seasons where he’s hit 30 or more homers. He is one of 21 players with 10 or more 20 homer seasons.
Cabera’s legacy will not just be as a power hitter, but as a great all around hitter. Cabrera currently ranks 28th all-time in hits and 7th in hits among the 500 homer club. He is 45 hits short of joining the 3,000 career hits club. Once he does so, he will be one of seven players with 3,000 career hits and 500 home runs. In 2012, Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown in 2012, leading the American League with 44 homers, 139 RBIs and a .330 BA. He was the first player since 1967 to win the Triple Crown. Even though he won the Triple Crown in 2012, it could be argued that he had an even better year in 2013 (44 homers, 137 RBIs and a .348 BA.) He finished in second place in HRs and RBIs to Chris Davis. If not for Davis’ career year, he would have had his second consecutive Triple Crown campaign. Of players with 500 career homers, Cabrera ranks 5th with a .311 BA. If he were to retire today, Cabrera would be one of 9 players with a career batting average of .300 and 500 or more home runs.
Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera are the two active players in the 500 homer club. Nelson Cruz is the next closest to 500 with 443. Although Cruz is 40, he is still a productive hitter. If Cruz keeps up his current prediction (26 homers in 2021), things could get interesting in 2023. Cruz got off to a late start- not achieving his first 20 homer season until he was 28 - but since then has hit over 20 homers in every season besides 2020 (and he still hit 16 in the shortened season). Since his first 20 homer season in 2009, Cruz leads baseball with 421 homers. 29 year old Mike Trout is the only active player with 300 career home runs who is under 30. Trout’s 310 home runs are the 14th most hit by a player under 30.
It has been a pleasure to watch a player like Miggy over the years. From his rookie playoff season to homering in the snow on Opening Day this year, it has been a fantastic journey. Personally, I had a close friend, a Tigers’ fan, who passed away in 2019. Because of him, the Tigers and Miggy hold a special place in my heart. I look forward to watching him pursue 3,000 hits. Congrats from the onlyhomers staff!
Information from mlb.com, baseball-reference.com and statheads.com