Miguel Cabrera has undoubtedly been the best Venezuelan hitter of all time. The Maracay player set another record just for his native country, surpassing Andres Galarraga’s record with 1,426 RBIs. In previous months, he had also outperformed the “Big Cat” in homers to become the first native Venezuelan to reach 400. Cabrera, member of the Detroit Tigers, is assured a place in today’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, in which Luis Aparicio, entered in 1984, is the only other Venezuelan player.
In Venezuela, they consider Cabrera the best of all time; of course, the comparisons must receive some judgment. Sometimes comparisons are odious, and we must know them because you can not measure a pitcher with a receiver or a first baseman or third baseman with a shortshop. But what we can say is that Cabrera is the best Venezuelan hitter that has passed through the majors, and not only that, one of the best in his time.
The great Latin hitters began in the 50s, but in 1945 the Puerto Rican Luis Rodriguez Olmo became the first Latino to reach 100. That year, the “Jibarito” playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers batted in 110. In 1953, the Cuban Minnie Miñoso recorded his first year of 100 RBIs or more, capping at 104. In 1954, he repeated, this time batting in 116 playing for the Chicago White Sox. In total, he had four season of 100 or more RBIs. Then came the first genuine slugger, Orlando “Peruchín” Cepeda, who in 1959 drove in 105 RBIs with the San Francisco Giants. After hitting 142 RBIs in 1961, he became the first Latino to lead the majors in that department. Incidentally, he was also the first to lead the league in homers, connecting for 46. Orlando managed four seasons of 100 or more RBIs.
The first Latino to get seven seasons with 100 or more was Tony Perez, and he was also the first to reach 1,652 RBIs. After that, we had large players, such as Andres Galarraga, Vinny Castilla, Juan “Igor” Gonzalez, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Manny Ramirez, Carlos Delgado, and these retirees had their great seasons.
Thus began the great RBI hitters in our Hispanic America. At the present time, Alex Rodriguez is the first Latino (born in New York) to pass the barrier of 2,000 RBIs. As everyone knows, Alex is a player who has had his problems with MLB and was suspended for one year for using PEDs. However, he is only the second player in history to reach the 2,000 RBI mark. The other is Hank Aaron, who ended his glorious career with 2,297. We must clarify that the RBI began to be officially registered in 1920. It is true that have been records made retroactive to the stellar work from former players, such as Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and company, but they are NOT official, besides the fact that there are discrepancies or omissions players.
Another major Latin player of the moment is Albert Pujols, who set a record for being the first and only player in MLB to record 100 or more RBIs since the beginning of his career for 10 straight seasons. In total, the Dominican currently has 11 years with 100 or more. As quoted above, the other major hitter of our Latin America is Miguel Cabrera, one of the biggest in the bigs. To date, the ultimate “Triple Crown” has registered 11 straight seasons with 100 or more, a feat that few have achieved. Also, we can not leave behind David Ortiz, who is the designated hitter with more lifetime RBIs Papi has been one of the most consistent hitters, registered eight seasons with 100 or more, and is headed for his ninth.
To realize how difficult it is to achieve 100 RBIs in a year, only three players reached 100 RBIs in 2014 in the National League, one being the Mexican-American Adrian Gonzalez of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
It is true that there’s much baseball to play by the autumn, but at this point the only ones that are emerging to reach 100 or more RBIs this season are Nelson Cruz, Miguel Cabrera, David Ortiz, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion. Kendrys Morales of the Kansas City Royals might join the group of those who from 2010-2015 repeat it in the American League. In the National League, Adrian Gonzalez has a good rhythm going and could join the group in the first half of the second decade Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies and Starling Marte of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Here is the list of Latinos with the most lifetime RBIs to date.
1. Alex Rodríguez 2.032 (active)
2. Rafael Palmeiro 1.836
3. Manny Ramírez 1.831
4. Sammy Sosa 1.667
5. Albert Pujols 1.670 (active)
6. Tony Pérez 1.652
7. David Ortiz 1.606 (active)
8. Carlos Delgado 1.512
9. Vladimir Guerrero 1.496
10. Luis González 1.439
11. Miguel Cabrera 1.426 (active)
12. Andrés Galarraga 1.425