Detroit Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera is on the verge of a major baseball milestone. Cabrera recorded his 2,999th hit on Wednesday against the New York Yankees, and he needs just one more to become the 33rd member of Major League Baseball’s 3,000-hit club.
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Cabrera, who turned 39 on April 18 and is playing in his 20th MLB season, was originally signed by the then-Florida Marlins out of Venezuela. He made his big-league debut in 2003, just months after celebrating his 20th birthday. His first hit, as fate would have it, was a walk-off home run.
Cabrera spent five years with the Marlins in total, receiving Most Valuable Player Award consideration in each of them. He wrapped up his career in Florida with career marks of 842 hits and 138 home runs, as well as a slash line of .313/.388/.542 (143 OPS+).
The Marlins traded Cabrera and left-handed starter Dontrelle Willis to the Tigers in December 2007. Florida received in return, among others, Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin.
Cabrera has spent the past 14-plus years with the Tigers, amassing a .309/.387/.528 (145 OPS+) slash line. Just last season, Cabrera hit his 500th career home run. Cabrera, as a result, will be just the seventh member of the 3,000-hit club to have also homered 500 or more times, joining Henry Aaron, Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, Willie Mays, Rafael Palmeiro, and Eddie Murray.
During Cabrera’s time in Detroit, he’s won a pair of MVP Awards (the more notable one coming as part of his Triple Crown victory in 2013) and ran his career totals to 11 All-Star Game appearances, seven Silver Slugger Awards, and four batting titles.
Who might be next after Cabrera to get to 3,000 hits? It’s hard to say. New York Mets second baseman Robinson Canó is the closest, but he’s 39 years old and hasn’t yet reached 2,700 career knocks. No other active player has as many as 2,200 hits.