Some feats seem as if they’re simply a function of time. Great players play, they achieve great things, and some achievements come and go as a player passes them en route to further feats and everlasting fame. Witness Miguel Cabrera hitting his 400th career home run Saturday.
Still, 400 home runs already? OK, so he got there at 32 years, 29 days old, and that means he’s no Alex Rodriguez, per Baseball-Reference.com. A-Rod remains the youngest player to get to 400 career home runs (29 years, 316 days), and he did it more quickly than anyone else in AL history, as he is only man to hit the milestone before his 30th birthday. And sure, Cabrera is no Albert Pujols, the man who holds the NL home run record and got to 400 at 30 years, 222 days old.
But those two guys are reminders that we’ve seen some extraordinary sluggers in recent years and Miggy should be mentioned among them in consideration as an all-time great. Getting to 400 home runs isn’t a race. It’s a destination — one point among many in an extraordinary player’s career. There’s no surprise that Miggy hit 400 or any surprise that he is the kind of player we expect to sail past 400 in his career. But it’s one thing to expect it and another to achieve it.
Cabrera’s entire career has been loaded with expectations, going back to when a much skinnier Miggy was a 20-year-old rookie helping the Marlins notch the second of their two surprising World Series wins back in 2003, including a trio of homers to put the Cubs away in the NLCS. We’ll be talking about seeing a Triple Crown winner long after he leaves the diamond, as Miggy earned that rare honor in 2012. And though Mike Trout fans might complain about who has which trophy from which year on his mantelpiece, there really shouldn’t be a debate over whether Cabrera has been an MVP-caliber player. Hate the process, not the player. There are no regrets in honoring the talent. It’s no coincidence that before the season, Baseball Info Solutions registered Miggy as the one guy with as much as a one percent shot of reaching 762 blasts to tie Barry Bonds’ all-time home run record.