The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)
Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera hits 500th career home run
TORONTO (AP) >> Miguel Cabrera celebrated with his teammates on the Detroit Tigers. He took a curtain call on the road. He paid tribute to his family, his team and his native country.
It was quite a day, even for one of baseball’s most accomplished sluggers.
Cabrera became the 28th major leaguer to hit 500 home runs, reaching the milestone in the sixth inning Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The 38-year-old Cabrera connected on a 1-1 pitch from lefthander Steven Matz, sending the ball over the scoreboard in rightcenter field. Measured at 400 feet, the homer tied it at 1.
Many of the 14,685 fans at Rogers Centre rose for a standing ovation as Cabrera rounded the bases. After celebrating with his teammates, he came out of the
dugout to accept a curtain call, taking off his helmet and bowing to the crowd behind Detroit’s dugout.
Cabrera, who won the Triple Crown and the first of back-to-back MVP awards in 2012, is the first Venezuelan to hit 500 homers. He is hoping to become the first hitter to reach 500 homers and 3,000 hits in the same season.
“It’s something special for my country, for my family, to be able to do this,” he said after Detroit’s 5-3 victory. “I’m really happy.”
Jeimer Candelario, who was on deck, was the first teammate to celebrate with Cabrera.
“When he hit that ball, I knew something special was about to happen and history was about to happen,” Candelario said. “For me, being a part of that is a blessing. It helped us to win a ballgame, too.”
Cabrera’s 500th home run was hit No. 2,955 of his career, and he can reach that 3,000 milestone this year, too, if he can stay healthy and average one hit per game. Only six players have 3,000 hits and 500 homers: Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez and Eddie Murray.
His pursuit of these big numbers has become a bright spot for a Detroit team that finally seems to be emerging from a difficult rebuild, approaching a .500 record.
Cabrera is the sixth player born outside the United States to reach 500 homers. He joins Pujols, Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, who reached the mark in 2015 and was the last to pull off the feat before Cabrera.
He is also the first player to reach the mark in a Tigers uniform.