Miggy reaches 300-homer mark with big blast
Becomes second Venezuelan to reach power plateau
DETROIT -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland compared Miguel Cabrera to other sports superstars like Michael Jordan, Tom Brady and Wayne Gretzky as he talked with reporters on Sunday morning. In Venezuela, however, Andres Galarraga is a revered legend.
With Sunday's two-homer game, punctuated by a highlight-reel drive into the camera well in straightaway center field, Cabrera powered himself into Galarraga's territory as the second Venezuelan-born player with 300 Major League home runs.
It's likely a stopover for Cabrera, rather than the end game. At some point in the coming years, he'll likely pass Galarraga's Venezuelan standard of 399 homers.
"He's a superstar. That's what he is," Leyland said. "He's one of those guys. He's a couple of notches above most people, obviously, offensively. He's having a wonderful, wonderful career and hopefully it will be a long career -- and hopefully he'll end up in Cooperstown."
The fact that he's just the 14th Major Leaguer to ever reach 300 homers by age 30, according to STATS Inc., suggests he has many more in the future. So does the fact that he can hit homers like Sunday's second drive.
Cabrera seemingly didn't get all of his first home run, yet still had enough to send Phil Humber's fastball over the left-field fence after Quintin Berry had homered three pitches earlier. Cabrera came up again with one out in the third and let Humber fall behind trying to nibble on the outside corner.
With Prince Fielder on deck, Humber left a 91-mph fastball over the plate and watched Cabrera center it. The ball landed in the camera well midway up the center-field structure that houses Comerica Park's fountain.
"He's got the most ridiculous pop I've ever seen," Berry said. "His smooth swing, being able to go that high up and dead [center], it's amazing man. It's fun to watch. He does it in BP and he does it in the game. It's unreal."
ESPN Stats and Information estimated that home run at 457 feet, the same distance given to former Tiger Eric Munson's home run to the same camera well in 2004. That would tie him for the second-longest home run in ballpark history, trailing only Carlos Pena's 461-foot drive to the concourse beyond the right-center-field seats.
Cabrera has hit at least three homers this year into that area of Comerica Park. The fact that the ball landed in the camera well made it relatively easy for Tigers personnel to retrieve it so that Cabrera could keep the memento.
"It means a lot, you know," Cabrera said. "It means a lot to me and my family. But right now, we're focused about playing hard, winning games and try to win the Central."
Cabrera has 162 home runs in his five seasons with the Tigers. Humber became the 211th pitcher to give up a homer to Cabrera, though few have yielded longer ones to him.