DETROIT -- Miguel Cabrera added to his illustrious collection of honors Thursday with the seventh Silver Slugger Award -- presented by Louisville Slugger -- of his career and fifth with the Tigers. He won the nod for the best hitting first baseman in the American League, as voted on by managers and coaches.
It's the fourth Silver Slugger Award in five years for Cabrera, who now has won three each at first and third base to go with one in the outfield from his National League days with the Marlins. His seven Silver Sluggers tie him for eighth on the all-time list with Ken Griffey Jr., Vladimir Guerrero, Tony Gwynn, Ivan Rodriguez, Ryne Sandberg and David Ortiz. Only Barry Bonds (12), Mike Piazza (10), Alex Rodriguez (10), Barry Larkin (nine), Wade Boggs (eight), Manny Ramirez (eight) and Cal Ripken Jr. (eight) have won more since the award began in 1980.
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Cabrera beat out a field that included White Sox slugger José Abreu, Boston's Hanley Ramirez and Cleveland's Mike Napoli. Cabrera's .316 batting average, .393 on-base percentage, .563 slugging percentage and .956 OPS all led his peers at first base, while his 38 home runs tied him with Baltimore first baseman/right fielder Chris Davis. Only Ramirez drove in more runs.
Much like past years, that production came in earnest down the stretch in a playoff race when the Tigers needed him most. Playing through a balky ankle, Cabrera hit .349 (37-for-106) from Sept. 1 to season's end, slugging 10 home runs with 27 RBIs. His final week included a stretch of 10 hits in 11 at-bats, four of them home runs, and 13 RBIs. He finished the season on a 10-game hitting streak.
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"It was hard," Cabrera said of his stretch run, "but you know me, I want to play."
From a personal standpoint, the strong finish wasn't nearly enough to lead Cabrera to a second consecutive batting title, but it nearly powered Detroit into the postseason. He ended up not leading the league in any major offensive categories this season, his first such season since 2009, but he finished in the top five among AL hitters in batting average (fourth) and OBP (fifth), while placing sixth in RBIs. He also might have hit himself into the conversation for a top 10 AL MVP finish.