Miguel Cabrera And Terry Francona Close Careers As Detroit Tigers Defeat Cleveland Guardians 5-2

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On his final play of his career, Miguel Cabrera made a backhanded stop, walked to first base, and grinned.

Before the Detroit Tigers ended the season with a 5-2 victory over the Cleveland Guardians on Sunday, the fans cheered, Cabrera’s children ran onto the field, and one of the greatest hitters in history sobbed.

They give me a chance to say goodbye,” Cabrera said. “I’m going to appreciate this moment for the rest of my life.”

The game also signaled Terry Francona’s retirement. The manager of Cleveland, who guided Boston to two World Series victories, is planning to step down this week.

I don’t think I need to be eulogized,” Francona joked. “Maybe after my doctor’s appointment tomorrow, you never know.”

The day, according to Francona, belonged to Cabrera.

Without a doubt, it did.

In his final plate appearance, the lone Triple Crown winner in more than 50 years went 0 for 3 with a walk.

He entered the game at first base in the eighth inning and played defense for the first time since 2021. For a short while, he was the only player on the field as players from both sides paid respect to one of the all-time greats of the game.

Steven Kwan of the Guardians hit a clean grounder to start the inning, which Cabrera easily fielded without moving too far, eliciting another round of applause and sending him through a wash of emotions.

Cabrera stared up at the clear sky while swathing his heart in his cap.

A.J. Hinch, the manager of the Tigers, and Cabrera’s kids entered the field to embrace him when he was removed from the contest. Cabrera wiped his eyes with his right arm after the entire club, including relievers from the bullpen, gave him a hug.

Before the game, Isabella, Brisel, and Christopher Cabrera, together with their father’s wife Rosangel, each threw a ceremonial first pitch to their father. Later, as the 12-time All-Star approached the batter’s box in the first, their son introduced him.

Every time Cabrera went up to bat, the sold-out crowd, which included a few thousand individuals with standing-room-only tickets, stood and erupted in jubilation.

41,425 spectators clapped for one of the most well-liked athletes in Detroit professional sports history despite the fact that he struck out in each of his first two at-bats and hit a flimsy popup in his third.

There was much to appreciate.

In 2012, when he won the American League MVP award for the first of two straight years while also winning three straight batting titles and four straight division titles, Cabrera became Major League Baseball’s first Triple Crown winner since 1967.

He became one of three players in baseball history with 3,000 hits, 500 home runs, and 600 doubles last year, joining Hank Aaron and Albert Pujols.

Baseball legend Ronald Acua Jr. of the Atlanta Braves referred to Cabrera as “a Venezuelan baseball god.”

The 40-year-old Cabrera struggled to stay healthy in recent years and hasn’t been able to put up the same kind of impressive statistics at the plate as he did in his peak.