Thursday, February 22 2024

There were no last-minute gifts … we hope.

Miguel Cabrera’s farewell tour with the Detroit Tigers around Major League Baseball was scheduled well in advance, though it gained a couple extra stops when the 2023 schedule was expanded to include a series, either home or away, against every big-league opponent.

In all, Cabrera and the Tigers visited 22 big-league squads in 2023, with 21 offering up a farewell present for the slugger in, appropriately enough, his 21st and final season. (That’s not counting the one team that brought gifts with them in their only visit to Detroit.) In addition to nearly $70,000 in donations to the Miguel Cabrera Foundation, the gifts were, by and large, thoughtful and entertaining, with a few aimed at giving Miggy something to do next season without baseball.

Here’s a look at the loot Miggy wound up with, covering everything from a cheesehead to cigars to coffee to cognac:

April 1: Rays

It’s the thought that counts, right? The Rays — perennially among the league’s most, well, financially challenged organizations — eschewed a gift and opted for a pregame video tribute and scoreboard message — “Thanks for the memories, Miggy” — to Cabrera, who posted a slash line of .285/.372/.514 in 110 games against the Central Florida franchise. (Tropicana Field also gave no gifts over Miggy’s career; Cabrera posted a lowly .808 OPS in 52 games in St. Pete.)

The Astros kicked off the actual gift-giving with a bonanza for Miggy, including bottles of champagne (“Sire Spirits Le Chemin Du Roi”) and wine (“Hammerin’ Hank Cabernet Sauvignon” from manager Dusty Baker’s winery) signed by the 2023 team and a cigar and wristbands from Baker, a longtime fan of Miggy’s. But the gift that appeared to bring the most joy? A black felt cowboy hat, which he wore on the plane home from Houston.

Detroit Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera is honored and given a cowboy hat before the game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston, April 5, 2023.Detroit Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera is honored and given a cowboy hat before the game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston, April 5, 2023.

April 13: Blue Jays

The Blue Jays delivered a nod to Cabrera’s history at the Rogers Centre with a framed photo collage from Aug. 22, 2021, when he made history with his 500th career home run. The ceremony, which featured a presentation by Blue Jays star Vladimir Guerrero Jr. also brought a reunion with former Tigers teammate Victor Martinez, who was hired by the Jays as a “special assistant to the organization” over the offseason.

April 23: Orioles

Although none of Miggy’s 12 career homers at Camden Yards ever reached the fabled Eutaw Street beyond right field, the O’s honored the slugger with an engraved brick from the B&O Warehouse (located on the far side of the street from the park), in a ceremony featuring Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde, bench coach Fredi Gonzalez (Cabrera’s manager for his final season in Miami) and Venezuelan slugger Anthony Santander.

The Brewers jumped on the headwear train with, what else, a Green Bay Packers-style “cheesehead” hat. They also paid tribute to the shared motor-vehicle heritage of Detroit and Milwaukee, with a Harley-Davidson jacket, and donated $5,000 to the Miguel Cabrera Foundation in a ceremony with former Tigers prospect Willy Adames and Venezuelan Brewers William Contreras, Néstor Corredor and Eduardo Brizuela.

Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) reacts after he was presented with a cheesehead by the Milwaukee Brewers during a presentation for Cabrera who said this will be his final season at American Family Field in Milwaukee on Wednesday, April 26, 2023.Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) reacts after he was presented with a cheesehead by the Milwaukee Brewers during a presentation for Cabrera who said this will be his final season at American Family Field in Milwaukee on Wednesday, April 26, 2023.

May 7: Cardinals

Cabrera hit six home runs in St. Louis — one at Busch Stadium II, and five at the current park — and one was a biggie: His 400th, May 16, 2015. The Cards paid tribute to the homer, which traveled 417 feet to deep center, with a framed photo of the blast, plus a $3,500 check for Miggy’s foundation, presented by team president John Mozeliak and fellow 40-something Adam Wainwright, who allowed two hits and one home run to Miggy in the bigs.

May 19: Nationals

No NL team gave up more homers to Miggy than the Nats’ 21 (counting their days in Montreal), but the franchise went with some slightly generic gifts: A rocking chair, a folded American flag and a base signed by the Nats’ roster, presented by four Venzuelans from the organization: players Andrés Machado, Keibert Ruiz, Ildemaro Vargas and catching coach Henry Blanco.

Few gifts could touch the one given previously by Phillies president Dave Dombrowski, who signed Miggy to a $248 million contract back in 2014 as the Tigers’ GM. In 2023, Dombrowski gave Cabrera a framed collage of personal photos, and the Phils gave the slugger the “DET” sign used in the Citizens Bank Park out-of-town scoreboard, signed by various Phillies, in a ceremony featuring Philly icon Ryan Howard, former Tigers teammates Nick Castellanos and Gregory Soto and fellow Venezuelan Jose Alvarado.

Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera reacts in front of Phillies shortstop Trea Turner after hitting a double during the fifth inning on Tuesday, June 6, 2023, in Philadelphia.Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera reacts in front of Phillies shortstop Trea Turner after hitting a double during the fifth inning on Tuesday, June 6, 2023, in Philadelphia.

June 10: Diamondbacks

The Tigers didn’t make a visit to Phoenix in Miggy’s final season, but that didn’t stop the D’backs from paying tribute to Cabrera, who posted a career 1.052 OPS against the franchise. Ahead of their final game of 2023 at Comerica Park, Arizona manager Torey Lovullo (a former Tiger) and a pair of Diamondbacks delivered a $10,000 check for Miggy’s foundation plus a retirement vacation at Talking Stick resort in the Phoenix area.

June 26: Rangers

A reunion with Ivan Rodriguez brought another framed photo collage — a personal gift from Pudge, Miggy’s teammate in Florida and Detroit — a $5,000 check for Miggy’s foundation and another donation toward Miggy’s potential post-retirement career as a cowboy: a custom-made saddle (presented by fellow Venezuelan Martín Pérez).

July 2: Rockies

What could have been if Cabrera had played half his career in Coors Field instead of Comerica Park? Cabrera posted a .407/.489/.704 slash line there. The mile-high franchise gifted Miggy another resort stay, this one at The Broadmoor, near Colorado Springs (about 70 miles south of Denver), plus the “DET” and “FLA” signs from Coors Field’s old manual out-of-town scoreboard.

Detroit Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera gives a thumbs up after receiving a Starbucks apron and gift basket for making his final appearance at T-Mobile Park before a game against the Seattle Mariners on Sunday, July 16, 2023.Detroit Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera gives a thumbs up after receiving a Starbucks apron and gift basket for making his final appearance at T-Mobile Park before a game against the Seattle Mariners on Sunday, July 16, 2023.

July 16: Mariners

Remember Miggy’s role as chaperone when the Tigers sent their rookies on a Starbucks run in the Emerald City at the end of the 2022 season? The M’s did, and paid tribute to it with a barista’s apron from Starbucks, as well as a gift basket from the coffee chain and a $7,500 check for Miggy’s foundation, presented by first baseman Ty France and shortstop J.P. Crawford.

July 19: Royals

Cabrera’s first finale against an AL Central rival saw the Royals pay tribute to Cabrera’s 2012 Triple Crown — which he clinched in the final series in Kansas City — with a framed photo collage headlined “Triple Crown Royalty.” The Royals also made one of the bigger donations to Miggy’s foundation, a $10,000 check delivered by fellow 3,000-hit club member George Brett and fellow Venezuelan Salvador Perez.

Detroit Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera (24) hugs Venezuelan former baseball player Dave Concepcion during a pre-game ceremony prior to facing the Miami Marlins at loanDepot Park in Miami on Saturday, July 29, 2023.Detroit Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera (24) hugs Venezuelan former baseball player Dave Concepcion during a pre-game ceremony prior to facing the Miami Marlins at loanDepot Park in Miami on Saturday, July 29, 2023.

The Marlins made Miggy’s homecoming — he spent his first five seasons in South Florida — a weekend-long party, with multiple tributes. That included personalized cigars and a humidor as well as a custom-decorated bottle of Santa Teresa Bicentenario Ultra Añejo Rum delivered on Friday night. But perhaps the biggest gift came Saturday, when the Marlins’ “Venezuelan Heritage Celebration” featured Cincinnati Reds legend Dave Concepción — Miggy’s favorite player growing up.

More: Deal of lifetime: How Tigers landed Cabrera in 2007 and changed the franchise

Aug. 1: Pirates

The Bucs took a historical approach to their tribute, with former Tigers teammate Don Kelly (now Pittsburgh’s bench coach) and former Tigers (and Pirates) manager Jim Leyland presenting Miggy a painting featuring a mashup of him and three Pittsburgh members of the 3,000-hit club — Roberto Clemente, Honus Wagner and Paul Waner — standing in front of the Roberto Clemente Bridge, located just outside of the Pirates’ PNC Park.

More: What does ex-Tigers manager Jim Leyland do now? He’s busy being the nicest golfer ever

Fenway Park was far from kind to Miggy over his career, as he posted just a .793 OPS over 45 games in Boston. But the fans and the Red Sox organization made up for that with the gift of the No. 24 placard from the Fenway Park manual scoreboard, as well as a donation (amount unknown) to Miggy’s foundation, delivered by Red Sox stars Kenley Jansen, Chris Sale and Justin Turner.

Detroit Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera. acknowledges the crowd after being honored in a ceremony before a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023.Detroit Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera. acknowledges the crowd after being honored in a ceremony before a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023.

Aug. 15: Twins

Minnesota, which entered the game having surrendered 99 extra-base hits (52 doubles, one triple and 46 homers) to Miggy, also wanted to make sure he had plenty of post-retirement hobbies: The Twins gifted Miggy a silver hockey stick as well as a No. 24-branded fishing hat, a fishing rod and a custom tackle box, plus a $5,000 donation to Cabrera’s foundation. Miggy responded with a gift of his own: one final homer to make it 100 extra-base hits on the nose.

Aug. 20: Guardians

Another hobby for Miggy to pick up: Guardians stars Jose Ramirez and Andrés Giménez (a fellow Venezuelan) delivered a Miggy-themed guitar — Progressive Field is about a mile from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame — in a pregame ceremony. “So happy you’ll never have to play here again,” the team tweeted out afterward, and for good reason: Cabrera’s 26 homers at Progressive are the most of any visitor.

Miggy on the bench? Only in the White Sox’s dreams, as Cabrera battered them for 40 home runs — his third-best total against any opponent — in 232 games. Still, the South Siders gifted Miggy a personalized bench in the style of the seats outside Guaranteed Rate Field — for some retrirement relaxation — as well as a personalized bottle of Remy Martin Louis XIII cognac and a $5,000 donation to his foundation.

Sept. 5: Yankees

The Yankees went with both locational and historical tributes, giving Miggy a custom painting of his two-out, two-run home run on Aug. 9, 2013, off Mariano Rivera — Miggy was one of five batters to homer twice off the New York closer — as well as an autographed New York subway sign (for the Yankee Station stop). The Yanks also chipped in for Miggy’s foundation, with a $10,000 donation.

Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera reacts as Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres, left, right fielder Aaron Judge and pitcher Luis Severino, right, present him gifts during a pre-game ceremony before the game on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023, in New York.Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera reacts as Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres, left, right fielder Aaron Judge and pitcher Luis Severino, right, present him gifts during a pre-game ceremony before the game on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023, in New York.

More: Remembering the night Miguel Cabrera stunned baseball’s best closer ever

Sept. 16: Angels

Surf’s up? Maybe, as the Halos brought out manager Phil Nevin, star outfielder Mike Trout and former star Albert Pujols — one of three members of the 3,000 hits/500 homers/600 doubles club — to deliver a customized surfboard featuring the words “Miggy 24” as well as his various career awards and milestones in a ceremony in Anaheim, California, approximately 17 miles from the beach.

Sept. 18: Dodgers

The last of Cabrera’s 12 All-Star appearances came at Dodger Stadium (in 2022), and while he didn’t garner a lot of attention in that game, the Dodgers showed Miggy still has some star power — literally. They gifted Miggy a framed star — in the style of the Hollywood Walk of Fame — as well as a $5,000 check for his foundation, delivered by fellow Venezuelans Brusdar Graterol, David Peralta and Miguel Rojas and former teammate J.D. Martinez.

Oakland Athletics manager Mark Kotsay (7) presents a gift to Detroit Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera (24) before the game between the Detroit Tigers and the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California, on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023.Oakland Athletics manager Mark Kotsay (7) presents a gift to Detroit Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera (24) before the game between the Detroit Tigers and the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California, on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023.

Sept. 21: Athletics

Second-year Oakland manager Mark Kotsay, whose MLB playing career overlapped with Cabrera’s from 2003-13, delivered a signed 2020 bottle of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from Caymus Vineyards. The gift was panned on social media, as well as by Evan Goldstein, the official sommelier of the Giants, who told the San Francisco Chronicle the mass-produced wine “speaks more to a base hit than a home run.” At least the A’s sprung for the one-liter size, reported to retail for $120, rather than the $90 version.

Contact Ryan Ford at rford@freepress.com. Follow him on X (which used to be Twitter, y’know?) @theford. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.  

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Every gift Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera received from MLB teams

Source: Yahoo Sports

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