While reading Goode’s feature, I could not help but notice one of Cabrera’s gaudy stats. Through 46 games, Cabrera is batting .388 with 14 homers and a whopping 1.154 OPS.
More striking is Cabrera's 57 RBI. Per ESPN, Cabrera is on pace for 201 RBI this year.
Already an MVP, batting champion and a Triple Crown winner, Cabrera is on track to have one of the best individual seasons in MLB history. Should Cabrera stay healthy and avoid a few dry spells in the batter’s box, he has a shot (albeit small) to bust Hack Wilson’s major league record for the most RBI in a single season.
According to Baseball Almanac, Wilson posted 191 RBI in 1930. Trailing Wilson is Lou Gehrig, who earned 184 RBI in 1931. Hank Greenberg is third in baseball history with 183 RBI. Greenberg sits eight RBI ahead of Jimmie Foxx (175 RBI).
Wilson’s record has been deemed by many to be one of the most untouchable records in MLB history, alongside Joe DiMaggio’s record 56-game hitting streak. This philosophy rings especially true in the post-steroid era.
Fans who think nobody will ever come close to Wilson’s gaudy RBI record have a valid point. The closest any modern player has come to Wilson’s feat is Manny Ramirez. He earned 165 RBI with the Cleveland Indians in 1999. Alex Rodriguez mustered 156 RBI with the New York Yankees in 2007, also per Baseball Almanac.
But consider this about Cabrera. Last season, the 30-year-old slugger had 139 RBI for the Tigers in 161 games. Yet, Cabrera did not get RBI 57 until June 25 versus the Texas Rangers.
Cabrera is nearly a month ahead of schedule this season.
If injury is a concern, Cabrera has been as sturdy as baseball players come. Looking at Cabrera’s career stats, he has not played less than 150 games in a season since his rookie year (2003). From 2004-12, Cabrera has averaged 158 games played on a 162-game schedule.
Of course, all ballplayers endure slowdowns and slumps. Cabrera is no exception (although his slumps pale in comparison to other MLB players).
But should Cabrera maintain his rabid video-game pace, he may come eerily close to breaking Wilson’s seemingly untouchable RBI record.
And if Cabrera does, scientists may have to consider testing him to see if this superstar really is human.
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