While old schoolers defend the notion that a player needs to have great totals to enter MLB’s Hall of Fame and modern voters believe in ratios and other factors, Detroit Tigers’ slugger Miguel Cabrera has a strong case under the two different approaches.
With a career .312/.390/.538 line, 489 home runs, 1,460 runs, and 1,734 RBI, Cabrera is a force to be reckoned with.
Even if he is no longer an offensive threat at this point of his career (38 years old), there is no denying that his body of work puts him on the map for an eventual election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, for three reasons:
Is Miguel Cabrera A Hall Of Famer? (3 Reasons Why He Is)
1. His Peak Numbers Are Remarkable
Cabrera was a monster at the plate for most of his career, and one of the most feared hitters of his generations.
But he was extremely consistent, too: he had at least .290, 25 home runs, and 100 RBI in 11 straight seasons, from 2004 to 2014.
You can, if you want, consider that his peak, but if we truly put the lens on his best string of seasons, we will have to go to the 2009 to 2013 period.
In those five campaigns, Cabrera averaged 38 home runs and his lowest batting average was .324.
Many players would kill to finish a season with a .324 average and at least 30 home runs, and that’s extremely rare these days.
From 2009 to 2013, Cabrera accumulated 6.7 Wins Above Replacement while being a lousy defensive player: that’s how dominant he was at the plate.
His peak performance is worthy of Hall of Fame consideration, without a doubt.
#SABR50at50: One of the most prolific hitters of his generation, Miguel Cabrera won the AL Triple Crown in 2012 to go along with two MVP awards and four batting titles in the span of five seasons with the @Tigers: https://t.co/d80ayWbu7m pic.twitter.com/YwSR9b2tlE
— SABR (@sabr) September 24, 2020
2. He Has The Hardware
Many voters would dismiss a player’s case to be inducted in the Hall of Fame if they didn’t earn many awards, even if they have strong stats.
These voters say that the player doesn’t have a good case if he wasn’t consistently performing above the competition, and that is measured, in part, with hardware.
And boy, does Cabrera have hardware.
The slugger won batting titles in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015, the 2012 AL Triple Crown, the 2012 and 2013 AL MVP, and seven Silver Slugger awards.
In a related story, every retired Triple Crown winner in the Live Ball Era is also in the Hall of Fame. I'm just sayin'. #ThisIsMyCrew
— Andrew Goldstein (@AndyGold24) September 30, 2018
He also won a World Series back when he was with the Marlins at a very young age.
If you want to talk about hitting prowess, Cabrera shouldn’t be out of the conversation in any case.
3. He Has Numbers To Please Old School Voters And New-Wave Statheads
Cabrera isn’t having a good season in 2021, but at 489 home runs, he could theoretically surpass the 500 threshold this year.
He also has 2,872 hits, and he could crack 3,000 this year or next.
Those two milestones should satisfy old-school voters, as will his amazing .312 batting average.
New-wave voters will look at his phenomenal career weighted Runs Created Plus, or wRC+, of 145.
According to Baseball Reference’s version of WAR, Cabrera has 68.7.
That would be more than Hall of Famers Eddie Murray, Carlton Fisk, Edgar Martinez, Ernie Banks, Roberto Alomar, Duke Snider, Craig Biggio, Willie McCovey, Dave Winfield, Jackie Robinson, Yogi Berra, Mike Piazza, Vladimir Guerrero, Bill Dickey, Hank Greenberg, Luis Aparicio, Tony Perez, Orlando Cepeda, Jim Rice, and many, many other hitters.
Cabrera deserves to be in Cooperstown when all is said and done.