Cabrera played all over the field in that postseason — third base, left field, right field, even three innings at shortstop. After being traded to the Tigers before the 2008 season, he eventually settled in at first base. Detroit acquired the Venezuelan for his bat, after all, not his glove.
“He was a good hitter before we ever got him,” manager Jim Leyland said. “I mean, nobody here taught Miguel Cabrera anything about hitting.”
Still, even the Tigers had to be amazed by what Cabrera did this season. His .330 average, 44 home runs and 139 RBIs made him the first Triple Crown winner since 1967.
“I told him that a Latino winning the Triple Crown is as impressive as having a black president,” Lopez said during his visit with the team Saturday.
During the final days of the Triple Crown chase, Cabrera did his best to deflect the pressure and the attention.
“I kind of want to stay away from baseball when I go home,” he said. “I want to see movies ... try to play with my kids, try and forget baseball for a little bit.”
As outgoing as he can be, Cabrera doesn’t always look comfortable when talking to reporters, especially when asked to talk about himself. It wasn’t long ago he seemed on the verge of wasting his prodigious talent, when he was arrested at the start of spring training in 2011 — he later pleaded no contest to drunken driving.
General manager Dave Dombrowski said Cabrera has worked hard to overcome his off-field problems.
“I think he’s grown in abundance,” Dombrowski said. “Just some of the things that when you’re a youngster, you need to learn, and the only way you learn is through experience, and he’s done that. So we see him in a much more comfortable place — his growth as a family man, his growth on the field as a leader.”