On June 20, 2003, Miguel Cabrera struck out in his first big league at bat. He’d get the last laugh however.
In the bottom of the eleventh inning the 20-year-old rookie hit a two-run home run to help his then-Florida Marlins to a 3-1 victory over the then-Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Now, I bring that up only to awkwardly segue into this.
Friday, the reigning American League MVP turned 31 and, since you were wondering (we both know you weren’t), started to look more and more like Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.
Say what? Allow me to explain.
On February 5, 1965, the eventual home run king turned 31 and, at the time, was carrying with him a .320 career batting average, 366 home runs and 796 extra base hits. Cabrera entered Friday night’s game with, get this, a .320 career batting average, 366 HR and 796 extra base hits.
Pretty cute, huh? Add in Aaron’s .567 slugging percentage and 157 OPS+ and compare it to Cabrera’s .566 and 154 and it’s downright scary how virtually identical this pair is.
“It’s incredible how similar their numbers are at the same age. I don’t know where Miguel Cabrera is headed, but he’s put himself in position to have a Hank Aaron-like career,” ESPN’s Jayson Stark commented before Friday’s game. “Hank Aaron was an incredibly productive hitter through age 39. If Miguel Cabrera is an incredibly productive hitter through age 39, we’re looking at a guy who has a chance to have an almost unprecedented career.”
Sure, injuries can happen at any time, but given Cabrera has played in more than 97% of his teams’ games since that 2003 debut…it is likely he might be around to blow out those 39 candles eight years from now.