Count Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez among those most excited when Miguel Cabrera got his 3,000th hit at Comerica Park on April 23.
“It’s unbelievable, honestly. That’s 200 hits for 15 years. Crazy,” Martinez said.
When Martinez’s own career was at a crossroads following a stunning release by the Houston Astros in 2014, he signed with the Tigers and got the chance to play with his idol for four seasons.
“I made the swing change, and then all of a sudden I got signed by the team that had the guy I studied the most to make my swing change,” Martinez said. “It was like a blessing from God, honestly. Just being able to every day, snap, look at his foot. 'Oh, look at the way he gets in [to his swing].' There’s something to do it, when you see it every day.”
Martinez was born in 1987, which makes him just four years younger than Cabrera. Yet he isn’t even halfway to 3,000 despite being a four-time All-Star and one of the most feared hitters in today’s game.
“Honestly, we were talking about that the other day and we were looking at all the plate appearances and other things. I was at 300 doubles, and he’s at 599,” said Martinez. “I’m like, ‘Dude, he’s about to double my doubles. You look at the at-bats, and he has literally double my plate appearances. I’m like, ‘How is that possible?’
“In order to even have that opportunity, literally everything has to go right. You have to come into the league at 20 years old, you have to rake right from the beginning and you have to carry it on and you have to get that deal that’s going to give you those years on the back end to give you those [extra hits]. Everything’s got to go right.”