Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 10/17/12
DETROIT Reggie Jackson says he doesnt see a debate where the AL MVP award is concerned. MVP conversations are for people who dont understand the game, Jackson said Wednesday at Comerica Park. And those conversations are for people who dont know what a Triple Crown means. They dont understand the greatness of what Miguel Cabrera has done this year. Jackson, the 1973 AL MVP for the Oakland As and a first ballot Hall of Famer, said the sabermetricians who believe Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout should be this years MVP based on the Wins Above Replacement (W.A.R.) statistic are missing the obvious. W.A.R. evaluates the average player well but does not work in evaluating the great players, Jackson said. People under 40 tend to see the MVP as being Trout with the W.A.R. ratings. But people over 40 understand the Triple Crown that Miguel won this year, and know just how impressive that is. Cabrera this season became the first to win the Triple Crown since Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. W.A.R. ratings incorporate various statistics in evaluating the number of wins a player adds to his team above what a replacement player would. According to www.baseball-reference.com, a rating of 8.0 or higher is MVP quality and 5.0 or higher indicates All-Star quality. This years top five W.A.R. players were Trout, 10.7; Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, 8.2; Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander, 7.5; Cabrera, 6.9; and Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, 6.7. I truly admire Miguel Cabrera, Jackson said. I sent him a text message in Spanish after he won the Triple Crown, telling him I admire him and that he deserves to be the MVP. I just have such an admiration for the Triple Crown and this guy. Jackson pulled a phone out of his pocket and scrolled to the text message exchange with Cabrera that began: Congratulations, my friend. It is amazing Cabrera hit .330 with 44 homers and 139 RBIs, while Trout batted .326 with 30 homers and 83 RBIs. The rookie also led the league with 129 runs and 49 stolen bases, and likely will win a Gold Glove. I hit more than 44 homers and I batted .330for one month, Jackson said with a smile. Jacksons career highs were 47 homers in 1969, 117 RBIs in 1973 and .300 in 1980. He finished a 21-year career with 563 homers, 1,702 RBIs and a .262 average. Known as Mr. October for hitting .357 with 10 homers and 24 RBIs in five World Series, Jackson was the MVP once and finished in the top five on five occasions. And so it says much about Cabrera, just 29, having already finished in the top five of MVP voting five times, the equal of Jackson. Cabreras highest finish was second in 2010, when he placed behind Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton. Cabrera is a pure hitter, just the purest hitter, Jackson, 66, said. You can see how it all begins by looking into his eyes before an at-bat. There is a determination and the thought of constant adjustments going through his mind that you can see. He is going to get the barrel of the bat on the ball. He lines up to hit a line drive to right-center, and he only very rarely tries to hit a homer, and when he lines up to squarely hit the baseball, there are not many who can stop him. Jackson, now an executive with the Yankees, also is impressed with his play since moving from first base to third base this season. I really enjoy watching him play defense, Jackson said. He gets around pretty good and hes a giant. Watch him move for a guy who is at least 270 pounds! He noted the play in Game 3 on Tuesday, when Cabrera, listed at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, sprinted from the shifted shortstop position to catch a foul ball by Mark Teixeira near the stands. He has not been 240 since he was 16, Jackson said. And he really moves for a big man. Jackson added that his move to accommodate free agent first baseman Prince Fielder also speaks volumes about what kind of teammate Cabrera is. This guy, Jackson said, is clearly the MVP.
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