Originally posted on The Detroit Sports Site  |  Last updated 4/22/13
Is Miguel Cabrera already a Hall of Famer? That’s the question posed by the SUBWAY® Boys in the Hall. Who is a surefire Hall of Famer playing the game of baseball today? ‘SUBWAY® is celebrating ‘The Boys In The Hall’ and posing that exact question to fans across the country. It’s not a question answered as quickly or easily as you might think, though … unless you’re from Detroit. When Derek Jeter decides to hang up the cleats, he’ll assuredly be heading to Cooperstown, but what other feared sluggers will be joining him? Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz have the numbers, but their candidacies could eventually become busted or delayed for various reasons. So, in the search for another potential “shoo-in” currently playing the game, I present to you the incredible, intimidating case for Detroit Tigers’ third baseman Miguel Cabrera. Consistency and a flare for the dramatic make a certain candidate out of Cabrera. Barely 30, Cabrera has been enjoying monster moments on the diamond ever since breaking into the league as a teenager in 2003. In fact, on his very first day on the job, Cabrera hit a walk off home run, becoming only the third baseball player since 1900 to accomplish that feat. In the same year, it was Cabrera’s harmless grounder in game 6 which shortstop Alex Gonzalez booted, leading to the Chicago Cubs’ legendary collapse. How could someone starting a career off in such interesting fashion be destined for anything but greatness? Cabrera’s case is not all explained by a simple historical footnote or mistake, however. The Tigers superstar’s ever-robust bat drives his consistent success. His career batting average of .318 is impressive, and he’s only hit below .300 once in a full season. Considering this, it’s not a stretch to imagine Cabrera finishing his career well above .300 –perhaps joining the elusive group of players who have finished their careers batting above .330 and made it to the Hall of Fame. Not just an average man, Cabrera has flexed his muscle at the plate to the tune of 323 career home runs, putting him on pace to join the like of Willie Mays and Jim Thome in the 600-HR club. He’s already less than 200 hits away from 2,000 for his career; and given Cabrera’s penchant for knocking in at least 100 runs a season, he should finish near the top of that statistical category all-time as well. Cabrera’s best Hall of Fame argument, however, came last season when he captured baseball’s elusive Triple Crown. A hitter leading the league in home runs, batting average and RBI was a feat that hadn’t been accomplished since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967, and a modern hitter doing it in as dominating fashion as Cabrera did was just as rare. He pulled away from the field with a .330 average, clubbed an impressive 44 homers and knocked in 139 runs. Seeing that, it was easy for the press to name Cabrera the American League’s MVP for the first time in his career. Here’s the historical clincher for Cabrera: All 15 players to win the Triple Crown since 1894 have a spot in Cooperstown, which certainly lends some credo to the idea that history is in Cabrera’s favor — and his MVP trophy and World Series ring certainly help the cause. Cabrera also has plenty of time to shatter other records, collect additional awards and chase more elusive levels of baseball history. At this point, given his consistency and drive, it seems to be a question of “when” and not “if” Cabrera ends up entering the Hall. In 2013, with several dominating years left, go ahead and write his name on the ballot in permanent marker. How do you craft the ideal Hall of Famer? As Cabrera shows, it takes a pinch of the supernatural but also calls for a heaping dose of talent, a dash of determination and a substantial sprinkling of historical relevance. Video: Hall of Fame Hopefuls: Miguel Cabrera
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