COMMENTARY | Eight All-Star games, two batting, home run, and RBI titles, one MVP, one Triple Crown, and one World Series championship.
At 30-years-old, Detroit Tigers superstar Miguel Cabrera already has quite the decorated resume. Even with his massive amount of honors, there's just one thing the third baseman has yet to accomplish.
But thanks to 8,013,874 fan votes, that will no longer be the case come July 16.
When Cabrera arrives to Citi Field for 84th Midsummer Classic, he'll be taking the field as an All-Star starter for the first time in his illustrious career.
With a .368 batting average, 28 home runs, and 90 RBIs, it's no surprise that Cabrera will man the hot corner for the American League squad to start the game.
What is a surprise, is the fact it took him 11 years to finally be able to take the field to start the game featuring the best players throughout Major League Baseball.
Let's take a trip back in time and look back on Cabrera's first seven All-Star games to see how it took 11 years before he finally was able to start one.
2004 All-Star game
One year after his major league debut, a 21-year-old Cabrera made his first All-Star game thanks to a .295 batting average, 20 home runs, and 59 RBIs. He was selected as an outfield reserve to stars Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds, and Sammy Sosa.
Cabrera had a higher batting average than Griffey Jr. (.251), more home runs than Sosa (16), and more RBIs than Bonds (48) and Sosa (39), but was an obvious victim of the fan vote.
2005 All-Star game
Cabrera made his second All-Star game at his future digs of Comerica Park. He hit .333 with 17 home runs and 62 RBIs to earn the honor, but was once again an outfield reserve, this time to a whole new group.
He had better statistics than starters Jim Edmonds (.272 average, 16 home runs, 51 RBIs) and Carlos Beltran (.266 average, 10 homers, 44 RBIs), and trailed Bobby Abreu by one home run, but in the end, it wasn't enough to sway fans.
2006 All-Star game
Cabrera's third Midsummer Classic also featured a career first: it was the first time he made an All-Star team as a third baseman. This time, he served as a reserve to New York Mets' star David Wright.
Wright hit .316 with 20 home runs and 74 RBIs to earn the start. Cabrera had a slightly higher average (.334), but trailed Wright in the other two categories (15 home runs and 61 RBIs).
2007 All-Star game
For the second straight year, Cabrera backed up Wright at third base in the 2007 All-Star game. Cabrera's .324 average, 18 home runs, and 61 RBIs topped Wrights numbers -- .292 average, 16 home runs, 51 RBIs -- but just like the year before, the fans chose the young Queens star.
2010 All-Star game
The 2010 All-Star game featured a handful of firsts for Cabrera. It was the first time he made the American League squad, as well as his first Midsummer Classic at his newest position -- first base.
Minnesota Twins star Justin Morneau won the fan vote at first base after hitting .345 with 18 home runs and 56 RBIs. But Cabrera had overall better numbers.
His .364 average and 77 RBIs were major league highs, while his 22 home runs ranked second.
Once again, Cabrera was snubbed by the fan vote.
2011 All-Star game
It's likely 2011 will wind up being Cabrera's last shot to start an All-Star game at first base. He had a great chance to do so, if it weren't for former Boston Red Sox star Adrian Gonzalez excelling in his transition to the AL.
Gonzalez earned the start with his .354 average, 17 home runs, and 77 RBIs. Cabrera had one more home run (18) than Gonzalez, but significantly trailed him in average (.311) and RBIs (59).
2012 All-Star game
With the acquisition of Prince Fielder, Cabrera transitioned across the diamond to third base, his former position.
But that wasn't enough to earn his first career All-Star start.
Other than trailing by .002 points in batting average, Cabrera had better numbers than AL starter Adrian Beltre. Cabrera hit .324 with 18 home runs and 71 RBIs, while Beltre hit .326 with 15 home runs and 54 RBIs for the Texas Rangers.
Although Cabrera was snubbed for yet another time in his career, he had the last laugh when the season was all said and done -- the third baseman wound up hitting for baseball's first Triple Crown in over 45 years, and the rest is history.
It's time to return to 2013, where Cabrera will finally make his first career All-Star start in a matter of days. It took him 11 years to do so, but it's apparently been well worth the wait for Cabrera and his loaded trophy case.
A second Triple Crown?
Delivering the Tigers their first World Series championship since 1984?
Only time will tell for Cabrera, but the 2013 Midsummer Classic is just the beginning to another historic season for the slugger.
Ricky Lindsay has followed the Detroit Tigers and Major League Baseball with a close eye from Metro Detroit for several years. He's the sports editor for his college newspaper, The Michigan Journal, and broadcasts games for the Michigan Lightning, a semi-professional football team.
You can find him on Twitter @RLindz35.
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