On November 14th the Baseball Writers Association of America named Miguel Cabrera the American League MVP. Mike Trout of the Anehiem Angels was again the runner-up.
Cabrera won the award for the second consecutive year, the first player to do that since Frank Thomas in 1993 and 1994. Cabrera was also the first Tiger to accomplish the feat since “Prince” Hal Newhouser in 1944 and 1995.
When looking at the numbers some would argue that Cabrera’s 2013 season was better than his triple crown season on 2012. Although Cabrera fell short in home runs and RBI’s this year he led the AL in average, OBP, Slugging, and OBPS.
What may have put Cabrera’s candidacy over the top is the overwhelming amount of clutch hits he had the season. Whether is was an extra base hit, homer or just a single Cabrera’s bat always seemed to provide exactly what the Tigers needed.
In fact what Cabrera did this season was just as special as what Justin Verlander did in 2011. Gutty, clutch performances. The kind of things Sabre Metrics don’t measure.
But as good as Miguel Cabrera has been as a Tigers, should he considered one of the best to ever wear the Old English D? His numbers and intangibles suggest that we should consider it.
Cabrera’s Tiger Resume
- 1 triple crown (2012)
- 2 consecutive MVP’s (2012, 2013)
- 2 time Hank Aaron Award winner (2012, 2013)
- 3 Silver Sluggers (2010, 2012, 2013)
- 3 consecutive batting titles (2011 2012 2013)
- 6 straight 100 RBI seasons as a Tiger (10 straight in total)
- 2 time Home Run Champ (2008, 2012)
- 4 straight all-star appearances
Everything on this list was accomplished in just six seasons. It is difficult to find a Tiger player in any era that can duplicate this type of statistical dominance.
Al Kaline led the American League in batting 1 time (.340 in 1955) and hits (200 in 1955). Although he was a runner-up twice, Kaline did not win the MVP. Kaline did have 10 gold gloves in his career.
Hammerin Hank Greenberg is considered by most to be the best Tiger hitter of all time. He spent 13 years as a Tiger and won 2 MVP’s, 4 HR titles, and had 7 100 RBI seasons.
Greenberg spent 3 years in his prime fighting in World War 2 so it is hard to project what his numbers could have been had he been able to play in those years.
Ty Cobb is the other Tiger most associated with the phrase best of all time.
Cobb was elite, in any era. He led the league in hitting from 1907 to 1915 and again for 3 straight years from 1917 to 1919. Although not known for power Cobb still drove in 100 RBI 7 times and led the league in the category 4 times.
He also led the league in triples 4 times, doubles 3 times and hits 8 times including 8 200 hit seasons. Cobb accomplished this over a 22 year Tiger career.
As good as Cobb, Greenberg and Kaline were, Miguel Cabrera is catching them quickly with only 8 years as a Tigers under his belt. If we are blessed enough to have Miggy in Detroit past his free agency year of 2016, he may very well surpass the career statistics of some of these Tiger greats.
That said, if his Tigers career ended today you would still have to consider Cabrera one of the Best Detroit Tigers hitters of all time.
Okay time to vote!