DETROIT – On his penultimate day as a professional player, Miguel Cabrera continues to receive countless recognitions from the Tigers organization, which also celebrates the way the Venezuelan enjoys the most, defeated the Guardians 8-0 on Saturday.
Hall of Famer Alan Trammell, who now serves as the Tigers’ special assistant to general management, opened a pregame ceremony that included a few words from Venezuelan Eduardo Rodríguez and opening the pitches from Cabrera’s parents, Gregoria Torres. and Miguel Cabrera Sr.
However, among the many people who attended the ceremony, there was one who made a reaction that could only be compared to Cabrera’s presentation. When Jim Leyland was announced over the stadium’s internal voice, the 40,224 fans present at Comerica Park erupted in joy.
In that recognition, the Tigers supporters remembered the good times when Leyland was in charge of their team. During that time, between 2016 and 2013, the club won two American League pennants and won 700 games in eight years, which also coincided with Cabrera’s best season.
“I think without a doubt, he will go down as one of the best offensive players in the history of baseball,” said Leyland, who retired in 2013 with 1,769 career wins as a manager in the Major Leagues. “That pretty much sums up (his career). He showed strength against his opposing team that I have never seen before.
It was under Leyland that the Venezuelan won the 2012 Triple Crown, won two AL Most Valuable Player awards and hit .328/.410/.582 with a .992 OPS (OPS+ in 161) with 287 home runs and 1,536 hits.
“His 2012 season was the best season I’ve seen in baseball. I love Miggy, we have a good relationship. I wish him the best,” commented the 18th-winningest manager in the history of the Major Leagues.
When Cabrera entered the field, one of the first things the gunner did was hug his former manager, in a clear example that their relationship goes beyond the field line.
“As a person, he’s a funny guy,” Leyland said. “He really likes to play ball. I won’t lie to you, I was a little surprised when I first saw it. When he came to Detroit I was surprised at how simple his swing was, and how far he carried the ball. He joins like a little boy, but he beats them like a big boy. “I was surprised by how little effort he put into his swing.”
With that in mind, Leyland wasn’t surprised by the love Cabrera received in the final days of his career, especially from Venezuelan fans, who filled Comerica Park with the country’s flags and banners.
“The people of Venezuela know they have one of the best baseball players in history,” Leyland said. “Miguel also appreciates them. His country loved him and he loved them. “