Beautiful isn’t a word typically associated with most professional baseball players, especially the ones that try to stand out. When it comes to the baseball swing, there have been very few players who have managed to make it look so easy, and look so good at the same time too.
There’s of course Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Ken Griffey Jr., and a few other legendary baseball players who made their living by so gracefully destroying the baseball. But finding players who make it look so easy and so good is like trying to find a diamond in the rough; it’s not supposed to happen.
Miguel Cabrera came up to the majors in 2003. He was a 20 year-old kid who ran through the minors with his amazing ability to hit for power to all parts of the field, combined with his extremely high on base percentage and batting average.
At a time when sabermetrics was just beginning to play an important role in the minds of general managers, Miguel Cabrera was a coach’s dream come true. A player who can hit for average and power, combined with a high on base percentage and a low strikeout-to-walk ratio, Cabrera was a Bill James superstar in the making.
His “potential” status was officially lifted when he helped the Florida Marlins win the 2003 World Series against the heavily favored New York Yankees. In his first full season in the big leagues in 2004, Cabrera batted .294 with 33 home runs and 112 RBI’s, declaring himself as one of the premier hitters in all of baseball.
Over his 10-year career, Cabrera has averaged 35 home runs, 123 RBI’s, and a .320 batting average. After Albert Pujols, he has been the best hitter in baseball over that 10-year span. At this point in his career, Cabrera has undoubtedly become the best hitter in baseball (especially after the way Pujols has played the last year and half with the Angels).
After the 2007 season, Cabrera, along with former acrobatic pitcher Dontrelle Willis, was traded to the Detroit Tigers for six prospects, the most successful prospect being the incredibly disappointing Cameron Maybin (at this point I’m assuming all Marlins fans have stopped reading this article because this is the part in the story where we all laugh at Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria for successful destroying his baseball team).
Cabrera continued to dominate on the field, posting Triple Crown like numbers and continually leading the league in batting average, home runs, and RBI’s at one point or another. However, he couldn’t lead them all for an entire season and capture the daunting Triple Crown.
But all wasn’t good for Cabrera. During the 2009 offseason, Cabrera was arrested for a DUI, and spent three months in rehab to clean up his act and get his game back together.
With his mind clear, his swing back in priority, and his game back in full swing, Cabrera had another masterful season in 2010. He hit .328 with 38 homers and 126 RBI’s.
2011 was a new year, but nothing changed for Cabrera. He batted career high .344 and smashed 30 home runs and drove in 106 RBI’s.
At 29, Cabrera was officially the most feared hitter in baseball, and the only thing lacking on his resume was arguably the greatest feat in baseball: the Triple Crown.
The last Triple Crown winner was Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. Most experts were sure the feat would never be accomplished again. With so many great pitchers, so few all-around great hitters, and too much luck required to win the Crown, most people were certain it couldn’t be done again. But than there was Miguel Cabrera, the man who fooled all the analysts, and did the unthinkable. Cabrera won the Triple Crown in 2012 with a .330 batting average, 44 home runs, and 139 RBI’s. The impossible became possible.
Cabrera is off to another stellar season, putting in work and already amassing 16 home runs and batting a ridiculous .365. He puts up video game like numbers, and makes it look so easy. A sight to see for all baseball fans to enjoy, that’s for sure.
What is it about his swing that is so beautiful to watch? Is it the tiny leg kick that when it plants the ground this amass of sheer power loads through his body and into his bat? Or is it the motionless swing that goes from point A to point B so smoothly that the ball flies like a rocket?
Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter in baseball. But the most amazing part of his game isn’t how good he actually is, it’s how easy and pretty he makes it look. The swing is priceless. It’s like watching an artist paint in his studio; words can’t describe the beauty of the moment.
There are very few players to have ever been so good that we marvel at their greatness. But even within the fraternity of those great players, there is an even smaller number of players who have made it look so easy, so good, and were so astounding to watch. Miguel Cabrera, when it’s all said and done, will be apart of the rare fraternity of major league hitters to have accomplished so much while producing one of the most timeless swings we have ever seen. Hopefully, the swing continues to do all the talking for Miguel Cabrera and his game.