Buried in the news of the Tigers’ victory over the Athletics last night was an interesting factoid about Detroit’s best hitter. With two RBIs in last night’s game, Miguel Cabrera has pulled within one of the Tiger’s franchise record of 22 postseason RBI, held for now by perhaps Detroit’s best hitter of all time, Hank Greenberg.
Not to take anything away from Cabrera, whose 2-run homer combined with great pitching by Justin Verlander to propel the Tigers to their third straight ALDS victory, but if and when Cabrera eclipses Greenberg in this category it should be looked at with a caveat. Considering that there is just so much more postseason play today than there was during Hank’s time, it’s almost surprising this team record hasn’t been broken yet. In Greenberg’s time, there were no playoffs as we know them: it was the World Series or nothing. In fact, if today’s season had been played under the old rules, Boston (whose 97 wins put them at the top of the American League) would already be heading to the World Series against the Cardinals (97 wins in the National League).
Hank’s 22 RBIs came over 4 World Series. In the one World Series Cabrera has played in with the Tigers (2012) he collected just 3 RBIs. On the other hand, they have played a comparable number of postseason games in a Tigers uniform, 23 for Greenberg and 29 for Miggy, but that fact comes out in Hank’s favor as well: he averaged very close to an RBI a game in the postseason.
But the bottom line is, both Cabrera and Greenberg have shined in the postseason. It’s exciting to see another perennially competitive team for Detroit. Good luck to the Tigers as they head to their third straight ALCS.