Miguel Cabrera’s Major League Debut
At just 35-39 coming into this June 20th in-state contest versus the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the Marlins and their fans could have no way of knowing that they were just four months from their second World Series title.
A lot was expected of hot-shot prospect Miguel Cabrera, but we didn’t know that he would eventually build his status to the level of future Hall-of-Famer. We were just hoping for a little magic. On this day, Cabrera delivered.
Mark Redman started and held the Rays to just one run over eight innings, walking nobody and allowing five hits while striking out eight. He was matched by Tampa Bay pitcher Rob Bell, who held the Marlins to a run on one hit over six innings. Braden Looper pitched an inning of relief, while Jesus Colome and Travis Harper pitched well enough to force extras.
The 10th inning as well would see the two clubs match zeroes, as Harper and Looper got through unscathed. After Armando Almanza pitched the top of the 11th, allowing two walks but no runs, it was the Marlins turn.
Derrek Lee flew out to right field to start it off, followed by an Alex Gonzalez double into left field. Miguel Cabrera, to that point of his major league career an 0-for-4 hitter, showed what all the fuss was about. He cranked one over the misshapen center field wall at Pro Player Stadium, sending the faithful home on a good note.
The Marlins went 51-36 the rest of the way, and muscled their way to their second World Series title against improbable odds. Cabrera went on to still-active MLB career by playing his way onto 11 all star teams, seven Silver Slugger awards, and two American League MVP awards, with the Detroit Tigers.