What do you get the guy who's done everything?

September 29th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Jason Beck’s Tigers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

What do you get the guy who has 3,000-plus hits, 500-plus home runs and a place reserved in Cooperstown in five years?

That question has faced every team the Tigers have visited this year in 's farewell season. Now that the Tigers are home to wrap up their season, the question facing Miggy is: What do you do with all these retirement gifts?

“After [the Triple Crown] in 2012, I got a lot of stuff,” Cabrera said Tuesday. “It’s all at my house, so I don’t know where I’m going to put all this.”

The gifts range from the comedic to the quirky, from slick to sentimental, regal to redundant. Once the season -- and Cabrera’s career -- ends, he has to figure out where to put all of them.

“One idea,” Cabrera joked, “is to open a restaurant. Put all this stuff in the restaurant.”

For the last six months, getting them to Detroit has been the responsibility of Tigers clubhouse manager Dan Ross, who has deftly found ways to fit them on the team plane. Framed photos and artwork can tuck in neatly behind a seat, but larger items -- such as the saddle that the Texas Rangers gifted -- required some creativity. They needed an open seat for that one.

“Miggy doesn’t let these gifts get too far away from him,” manager A.J. Hinch told MLB Network Radio last week. “The funny thing is they will hand [the gift] to [Dan], and Miggy will tell him, ‘Hey, don’t mess this one up. Don’t screw this up.’

“We were joking that we might have to kick a person off our flight in order for the surfboard to have a seat.”

The biggest items -- such as the rocking chair from the Nationals, or the bench from the White Sox -- were shipped to Cabrera’s home in Florida, oftentimes by the gifting team. The surfboard the Angels gave him a week and a half ago had to wait for an appropriately sized box -- it’s 10 feet long -- before being shipped. Miggy jokingly asked Hinch if he could take a day off and go to the beach to use it.

Here’s the list of gifts, in order of Tigers road trips this season …

Tampa Bay: Donation to Miguel Cabrera Foundation

Houston: Dusty Baker wristbands and wine from his winery, cowboy hat, bottle of champagne signed by Astros, presented by Baker, Jose Altuve, Framber Valdez and Hall of Famer Craig Biggio

Toronto: Photo collage of Cabrera’s 500th career home run from Aug. 22, 2021, at Rogers Centre, presented by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and longtime teammate/Blue Jays special assistant Victor Martinez

Baltimore: B&O Warehouse brick from Camden Yards and gold plaque, presented by Anthony Santander, manager Brandon Hyde and bench coach Fredi Gonzalez, Cabrera’s final manager with Marlins

Milwaukee: Donation to foundation and custom leather jacket, presented by former Tigers prospect Willy Adames and fellow Venezuelan William Contreras. (He also got a cheesehead hat, but couldn’t keep it.)

St. Louis: Donation to foundation and framed photo of Cabrera’s 400th career home run from May 16, 2015, presented by Adam Wainwright and John Mozeliak

Washington: Rocking chair, a base signed by Nationals players and a flag flown at the U.S. Capitol, presented by manager Davey Martinez

Philadelphia: The Detroit panel from out-of-town scoreboard signed by Phillies players and presented by former teammate Nick Castellanos and Ryan Howard. Phillies president of baseball operations and former Tigers president/GM Dave Dombrowski presented him with a photo collage of some of their greatest moments together.

Texas: Donation to foundation, photo collage from former Marlins and Tigers teammate Pudge Rodriguez, custom-made saddle from fellow Venezuelan Martín Pérez

Colorado: Florida and Detroit panels from Coors Field’s out-of-town scoreboard, two-night stay at The Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs, presented by Rockies manager Bud Black and bench coach Mike Redmond, his former teammate in Miami

Seattle: Donation to foundation, green Starbucks apron and gift basket, presented by ex-teammate Eugenio Suárez

Kansas City: Donation to foundation and photo collection of his Triple Crown clinch at Kauffman Stadium in 2012, presented by Hall of Famer George Brett and fellow Venezuelan Salvador Perez

Miami: Custom-etched humidor and cigar box, custom bottle of rum, presented by ex-teammates Aníbal Sánchez and Omar Infante

Pittsburgh: Artwork featuring Cabrera and Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente crossing Pittsburgh’s Clemente Bridge, presented by Jim Leyland and Pirates bench coach Don Kelly

Boston: Number 24 panel from Fenway Park’s manual scoreboard and donation to foundation

Minnesota: Donation to foundation, fishing pole, custom tackle box and No. 24 fishing hat, presented by Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau

Cleveland: Custom guitar presented by José Ramírez and fellow Venezuelan Andrés Giménez

Chicago White Sox: Donation to foundation, handmade bench made out of bats, baseballs and bases crafted by former White Sox great Ron Kittle. Elvis Andrus gave him a bottle of Louis XIII cognac

New York Yankees: Donation to foundation, autographed Yankee Stadium Station subway sign and framed artwork rendering of his famous 2013 home run off Mariano Rivera

Los Angeles Angels: Custom surfboard featuring Cabrera’s career feats, presented by Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and Phil Nevin

Los Angeles Dodgers: Donation to foundation, framed Hollywood star, presented by J.D. Martinez

Oakland: Donation to foundation, bottle of wine signed by team

In addition, the Diamondbacks presented a donation to Miggy’s foundation during their visit to Comerica Park in June, and Reds great Joey Votto presented Cabrera with a custom pillbox bat decorated with Miggy’s accomplishments during Cincinnati’s visit in September.

So which ones did Cabrera particularly like?

“I liked the jacket [from Milwaukee],” Cabrera said. “The surfboard from Anaheim was pretty cool. The Yankees signs. The brick from Baltimore was cool. People don’t know the history about that. The number in Boston was really cool, too. That’s special because they have a lot of history behind them. Minnesota was pretty nice, too. The painting with Roberto Clemente is one of the best.

“All the gifts they give to me are something special, so it’s hard to say this one’s my favorite.”

It wasn’t just the gifts that resonated.

“He’s just as touched at the people,” Hinch said. “Pujols [in Anaheim] was really, really cool for him. The group in Miami, it meant a ton to him, the people that he’s getting to see. Manny [Ramirez] was in Cleveland. Mauer, Morneau [in Minnesota]. There are a lot of people that are paying their respects to him, and that’s really cool.”

One more round of gifts awaits this weekend, this time at Comerica Park during Miggy Appreciation Weekend. In addition to gifts from the team, the players came together for retirement gifts as a thank you.