KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- On Monday night, in a division-clenching game that kicked off the final series of the season, Miguel Cabrera shook off the burden of chasing a once-in-a-generation achievement and paved for himself a possible place in baseball among men like Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig and Ty Cobb.
It was a perfect, beautiful night for the game in a place that has not seen meaningful October baseball in a very long time. As Cabrera stepped to the plate in the sixth inning, a slump hung round his shoulders, it was true if trite-sounding that a perfect moment settled in.
Time slowed, his bat swung, the ball jumped and then his league-leading 44th home run of the season sailed toward right field and beyond. And a kind of magic the stuff that perhaps filled the game when ghosts like Ruth and Hornsby still stalked it rose right up around everyone lucky enough to have been here.
This was history, or at least a real shot at history with two games to go, announcing itsel...