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Miguel Cabrera reaches 500 home runs

Miguel Cabrera reaches 500 home runs

Miguel Cabrera became the 28th major league player to hit 500 home runs as he reached the milestone in the sixth inning of his Detroit Tigers’ game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The 38-year-old Venezuelan hit a 1-1 pitch by southpaw Steven Matz, landing the ball on the board in right-center field. The home run tied the game 1-1.

Fans at Rogers Center stood up to cheer Cabrera as he walked around the bases. The slugger had to leave the cave behind first base to receive another standing ovation, removing his helmet to greet the crowd.

Cabrera, who completed the Triple Crown and won the first Most Valuable Player awards in 2012, is the first Venezuelan to hit 500 home runs. Now he’s trying to become the first hitter to hit 500 home runs and 3,000 hits in the same season.

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His 500th home run was the 2,955th hit of his career and he could hit 3,000 this year, if he stays healthy and averages one hit per game.

Only six players have reached 3,000 hits and 500 home runs: Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodríguez and Eddie Murray.

Cabrera’s assault on those momentous digits has been an incentive for a Detroit team that is finally showing signs of coming out of a makeover, skimming a .500 mark.

Cabrera is the sixth player born outside the United States with 500 home runs. He joins the Dominicans Pujols, Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramírez and David Ortiz, as well as the Cuban Palmeiro. Ortiz had been the last to do so in 2015.

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Cabrera is also the first player to reach 500 in a Tigers uniform.

In 2012, Cabrera became the first player in 45 years to win the Triple Crown by leading the league in batting average, home runs and RBIs.

When Cabrera made his major league debut with the Marlins in 2003, he was just 20 years old. His contribution was key to winning the World Series championship that year.

The Tigers acquired him in a trade with the Marlins in 2007, a year after losing the World Series to St. Louis, seeking their first championship since 1984.

However, the Tigers have never been able to rise to the top with their productive slugger. They lost the 2012 classic to San Francisco and at the end of the decade they undertook a makeover, bottoming out with 310 losses between 2017-19.

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Cabrera’s hitting and jovial demeanor made him an idol in Detroit, but his production has declined significantly in recent years, a victim of time and injury.

While other Tigers stars like pitcher Justin Verlander were traded, Cabrera’s price plunge and huge salary made it difficult for him to transfer to another team. His 500 home run was his 13th hit this season, his most since 2017.

On the all-time home run chart, Cabrera has fallen just behind Eddie Murray, a Hall of Famer who accumulated 504. AP (HN)

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