Long-time Tigers corner infielder/designated hitter Miguel Cabrera is now just one home run shy of joining one of baseball's most exclusive and revered clubs. He clubbed a shot to left-center field on Wednesday night in Baltimore:
That is the 499th regular-season home run for Cabrera. That was a vintage Cabrera swing. Sure, he's not as strong as he used to be, but look how he stayed back on the hook and got his hands so smoothly around the inner half. Just a thing of beauty that he's been doing his entire career.
After hitting 38 homers to move to 446 in his career through his age-33 season, 500 seemed a cinch for Cabrera. Injuries and age-related decline only saw him with 477 through his age-36 season and it all of a sudden seemed possible he might not get there after all. He has regained some power in the last two seasons, hitting 10 homers in just 57 games last year and he now has 12 in 90 games this year.
Cabrera is signed through 2023 and productive enough to merit at least part-time action on a non-contender, so he'll get to 500.
When he does, Cabrera will become the 28th player in history to reach 500 home runs.
Meanwhile, Cabrera is also closing in on another hallowed milestone. He has 2,948 career hits. Another 52 hits and he'll become the 33rd player in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits. The only players with both 500 home runs and 3,000 hits in MLB history are Hank Aaron, Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, Willie Mays, Rafael Palmeiro and Eddie Murray. Cabrera is very likely to join that group.
For now, keep our eyes on Cabrera. His next home run is the big one.