Major League Baseball’s history is littered with legends – the pioneers, the record-breakers, the greats. Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, and dozens of others – these names will never be forgotten, even though the men who wore them on their jerseys are long gone. However, every player has the potential to do great things, and these three legends in the making are well on their way to going down in the books as some of the greats.
Gettin’ Miggy With It
Miguel Cabrera is a Venezuelan-born baseball player who was signed as an amateur free agent by the Florida Marlins in 1999. While he’s better known as one of the cornerstones of the Detroit Tigers franchise today, he played for the Marlins for a solid five years, garnering a Silver Slugger award twice as a National Leaguer.
When he was traded to Detroit before the 2008 season, awards and accolades continued to stream in for the talented first baseman. He captured the American League MVP two years running (2012 and 2013), and he grabbed the Hank Aaron Award (awarded to the NL and AL top hitter) those same years. He’s an offensive powerhouse, holding a .320 career batting average, an on-base percentage of nearly .400, and an average of nearly 34 home runs every season. He has also been selected to the All-Star Game 11 times in his career.
Cabrera’s stats are similar to several greats of the past, such as Frank Robinson, Larry Walker, and Hank Aaron. Two out of those three have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Will Cabrera make it into Cooperstown as well? Chances are good. He hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down and it looks like has many years left (his current contract is good through 2023).
Albert Pujols Slugs His Way to the Record Books
Three-time National League MVP Albert Pujols was drafted in 1999 by the St. Louis Cardinals, a team he’d remain with for 11 professional seasons once he made his MLB debut in 2001. While most of his career achievements took place in St. Louis, before his trade to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim prior to the 2012 season, he still made the All-Star roster in 2015.
Pujols was part of the Cards’ World Series winning seasons in 2006 and 2011 and was a much-beloved member of that St. Louis squad. During his Cardinals days, he snatched up two Gold Gloves (2006 and 2010) and pulled a whopping six Silver Sluggers. He also received two Hank Aaron awards and has been selected to a total of 10 All-Star Games.
Like Cabrera, Pujols is well known for his offensive firepower. He’s a member of the 500 home run club, having racked up 582 (so far) over the course of his 16-year career, a career high mark that very few MLB players have met. His stats are similar to other baseball giants who have come before him, including Ken Griffey Jr., who was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame; Willie Mays (another Hall of Famer); and the late great Jimmie Foxx (also in the Hall). Pujols will likely end up there as well.
Inducting Suzuki Into the 3,000 Hit Club
Ichiro Suzuki made his MLB debut in 2001 for the Seattle Mariners and hasn’t stopped hitting since. He recently slammed a major milestone and collected his 3,000th hit as a Miami Marlin. If that sounds like a lot, it is; he’s only one of 30 MLB players to have reached this milestone. The 42-year-old isn’t a full-time starter this season for Miami, but he entered the season only needing 65 hits to reach the mark. Hitting this milestone is a representation of a long, celebrated career. He is also the current record holder for the number of hits in a season (262) which he achieved in 2004.
Suzuki is also a 10-time All-Star, having garnered all 10 appearances during his years in Seattle. He also grabbed the MVP during his rookie campaign as well as a Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, and Rookie of the Year award that same year. He has been awarded a Silver Slugger two more times and a Gold Glove nine more times.
His big-hitting career is similar to a few other players of yesteryear, such as Doc Cramer, Sam Rice, and Fred Clarke (the last two are Hall of Famers). They all got well over 2,000 hits in their careers and while none really hit for power (not a ton of homers, for example). In Suzuki’s case, getting 3K hits is definitely remarkable since he didn’t make his big-league debut until he was 27 years old.
Legends Live On
Not every ballplayer is destined for greatness, but there are a few modern players who are truly living legends. Take a moment to catch them playing in person if you have the chance.
Whether you’re a Miggy fan, a Pujols devotee, or a Suzuki enthusiast, you can find their jerseys at Fanatics.com, along with lots of amazing MLB gear.