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Miguel Cabrera has fast-tracked his way to 2,500 hits

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It’s been a rough day for right-hander Trevor Bauer, who plunked three batters, walked two, surrendered a run on a wild pitch, and served Miguel Cabrera his 2,500th career hit during Sunday’s Tigers-Indians game. In the third inning, Cabrera lined the first pitch of his at-bat into right field, where it dropped for the slugger’s milestone hit:

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At 33 years old, Cabrera joins the ranks of 100 major leaguers to reach 2,500 career hits and seven who have reached 2,500 or more hits by their 33rd year, including Ty Cobb (2,856), Rogers Hornsby (2,705), Hank Aaron (2,618), Robin Yount (2,602), Alex Rodriguez (2,531), Mel Ott (2,528), and Jimmie Foxx (2,516).

Of the eight sluggers (and seven Hall of Famers, barring Rodriguez), 1929 Cubs infielder Rogers Hornsby saw the fewest plate appearances by age 33, racking up over 2,700 hits in just 8,636 PA. Cobb, by far the most prolific hitter over his 16 seasons, reached 2,856 hits while contributing just 69 home runs — though his 218 triples stand unchallenged by any of the other names on the list.

Cabrera distinguishes himself from the group with the fourth-most extra bases, thanks in large part to his 441 home runs and in very small part to just 17 triples. Like Hank Aaron, it only took him 14 seasons in the majors to break into the 2,500-hit club, and he sits behind Hornsby and Cobb with just 8,946.

No matter how you slice it, it’s an impressive feat for the Tigers’ star slugger, whose name has been central to MVP discussions since his rookie season in 2003. Among active players in the majors, only 33-year-old Robinson Cano appears anywhere close to Cabrera’s record, with 2,191 hits spanning his 12-year career so far.

Royals outfielder Gordon to retire after 14 seasons

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Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, the former first-round pick whose rollercoaster career took him from near bust to All-Star and Gold Glove winner, announced Thursday he will retire after the season.

Gordon was the second overall pick in the 2005 first-year player draft following a standout career at Nebraska, where he won the Golden Spikes Award as the best amateur in baseball. He made his big league debut two years later and, after a few years shuttling back and forth to the minors, moved from third base to the outfield and finally found success.

He wound up playing his entire 14-year career in Kansas City, joining only George Brett and Frank White as position players with that much longevity with the franchise. He heads into a weekend four-game series against Detroit with the third-most walks (682), fourth-most homers (190), fifth-most doubles (357) and sixth-most games played (1,749) in club history.

The three-time All-Star also holds the dubious distinction of being the Royals’ career leader in getting hit by pitches.

While he never quite hit with the kind of average the Royals hoped he would, Gordon did through sheer grit turn himself into one of the best defensive players in the game. He is the only outfielder to earn seven Gold Gloves in a nine-year span, a number that trails only White’s eight for the most in franchise history, and there are enough replays of him crashing into the outfield wall at Kauffman Stadium or throwing out a runner at the plate to run for hours.

Gordon won the first of three defensive player of the year awards in 2014, when he helped Kansas City return to the World Series for the first time since its 1985 championship. The Royals wound up losing to the Giants in a seven-game thriller, but they returned to the Fall Classic the following year and beat the Mets in five games to win the World Series.

It was during the 2015 that Gordon hit one of the iconic homers in Royals history. His tying shot off Mets closer Jeurys Familia in Game 1 forced extra innings, and the Royals won in 14 to set the tone for the rest of the World Series.

Gordon signed a one-year contract to return this season, and he never considered opting out when the coronavirus pandemic caused spring training to be halted and forced Major League Baseball to play a dramatically reduced 60-game schedule.

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