Only time separates Miguel Cabrera from the Hall of Fame. A living baseball legend, the Venezuelan hopes to fulfill the last two years of his contract with the Tigers and then leave with the satisfaction of having completed a career that many would have already wished for.
Cabrera, however, does not rest on past glories or on what the future holds. Every morning he picks up his bat and goes to the boxes of Professor Ricardo Sosa to continue perfecting an art that he has mastered like few others. On a personal note, he affirmed that I have not met a hitter who knows how to direct the ball wherever he pleases. A teacher.
Who does not remember that Cabrera who came to the Marlins as a teenager and homered Roger Clemens, the winner of the Triple Crown, the slugger with more than 500 home runs and almost 3,000 hits, the 11-time star, sometimes Most Valuable Player …
And he doesn’t stop training. Never.
What is the motivation to come every morning and leave life in the gym?
“The first purpose of us is to improve every year, regardless of how old we are. Find a way to help your team win, to make a difference on the pitch. That has been one of my great motivations. Try to improve and try to help the team win.”
World series champion, triple crown, it is not easy to find motivation.
“The one that has motivated me the most has been the last three years of mine that I have had many injuries and I try to overcome that to arrive as ready as possible for the spring. To be able to have a healthy season. That’s what has kept me positive. Try to go and play even 130-140 games.”
You come up, you win everything and the injuries start…
“It’s hard. It’s a physical fight, a mental fight, an everyday battle. You try to wait until the next day to see what part of your body hurts and it’s quite difficult. The life of an athlete, the life of baseball, as the years go by, takes its toll of as many as blows”.
Do you try to strengthen the mental in the face of physical exhaustion?
“I have had many conversations with people who ask me how many more years I am going to play and I tell them: “no, until my contract is up, I have two years left and with God’s favor I want to finish healthy”. They tell me “why don’t you want to play more?”, and I tell them “because my body tells me no but my mind tells me yes”. The mind is always fighting, but there comes a time when the body tells you to stop”.
How do you remember those times of reaching the Majors with pure talent?
“It was very nice, because I had a good friendship with many players. They helped me a lot and always made my job easier. They were always telling me things so that I could improve and mature more in the game. That helped me when they traded everyone and I stayed with the rookies, it helped me a lot to stay strong and I kept fighting until they traded me.”
Let’s say you’ve learned to listen to your body.
“That’s part of the race season. The part that one has more experience and knows how to manage on the pitch. You know the things you have to do to better prepare yourself. I’ve been thankful to God for giving me this opportunity and having this career that I have.”
When you finish those two more years, will you be satisfied?
“Yes. I am quite proud of the career I have had and I hope to finish as I told you, in good health and good to move on. I just need to win in Detroit. It’s something I owe to that city. Something that we have sought for many years and have always fallen short of the way.”
Miami has always been a special place for you, what does it mean?
“It is my house, where I live, where my children are studying and growing up. We have a good baseball community here, where my son participates. Let’s hope we continue to grow.”
But what a responsibility, the son of Miguel Cabrera, right?
“No, he is Christopher and I am me. What I did has nothing to do with him. Let him play and do his things. That has nothing to do with me. What I did, I did. What he is going to do, he is going to do. He has nothing to do with me.”
This story was originally published on February 18, 2022 8:38 a.m.
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The Hall of Fame awaits, but this living baseball legend is always going for more