Miggy Joins 500 HR Club

Tiger great Miguel Cabrera launched his 500th HR on Sunday, connecting off Blue Jay left-hander Steven Matz, the 346th pitcher to allow a Cabrera regular season blast. Miggy becomes just the 9th player in the 500 HR club to maintain a career .300 batting average. More after the jump.

That elite 500 HR /.300 BA club includes these players.

Rk Player 2B HR BA From To Age G PA AB R H 3B RBI BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS Pos Tm
1Henry Aaron624755.3051954197620-4232981394112364217437719822971402138324073.374.555.9289783DH/45MLN-ATL-MIL
2Miguel Cabrera591500.3112003202120-38255610873951514982955171785119219073921.388.534.92235D79/HFLA-DET
3Manny Ramirez547555.3121993201121-3923029774824415442574201831132918133833.411.585.99679D/HCLE-BOS-LAD-CHW-TBR
4Ted Williams525521.3441939196020-412292979277061798265471183920217092417.482.6341.116*79H/1BOS
5Willie Mays523660.3021951197320-422992124971088120623283140190314641526338103.384.558.941*8H/39675NYG-SFG-TOT-NYM
6Babe Ruth506714.3421914193519-40250310626839921742873136221420621330123117.474.6901.164971/H83BOS-NYY-BSN
7Frank Thomas495521.3011990200822-40232210075819914942468121704166713973223.419.555.974D3/HCHW-OAK-TOR-TOT
8Mel Ott488511.3041926194717-3827301134894561859287672186017088968990.414.533.947*95H8/74NYG
9Jimmie Foxx458534.3251925194517-37231796778134175126461251922145213118776.428.6091.038*3H52/7916PHA-BOS-CHC-PHI
Provided by Stathead.com: View Stathead Tool Used
Generated 8/22/2021.

Of this group of nine, Cabrera becomes the sixth to also surpass 500 doubles, a milestone he reached in 2016. Cabrera is the first player to join this club after playing in both leagues, and is the only player in the group with 250+ games in each league.

It has been widely noted that no player has reached 500 HR and 3000 hits in the same season. While Cabrera still has an outside chance to be the first, it’s more likely that his 3000th hit will come early next season. Cabrera has, however, already reached a double milestone this season – two games after HR no. 500, Miggy scored the 1500th run of his career against the Cardinals. Cabrera joins Babe Ruth (1929), Eddie Mathews (1967), Rafael Palmeiro (2003) and Albert Pujols (2014) as the only players reaching those plateaus in the same campaign.

Cabrera is the 28th player to reach 500 home runs, and the the first of those 28 to be born in South America. His milestone blast is the first to happen outside the US, and is the first by a Tiger. Cabrera is the 6th player to swat no. 500 as a DH, and the 17th to do so with the bases empty (no player has hit number 500 with the bases full). Cabrera’s blast is the 13th of 28 to come in the last two months of the season.

Cabrera’s 500th came almost six years after David Ortiz became the 27th player to join the club. Three players reached 500 home runs in the 2007 season, and two did so in 1968 and 1971. The Giants and Red Sox share the distinction of having four players hit no. 500 while wearing their uniform, while the Orioles and Indians have yielded the most 500th homers with three apiece. Mike Schmidt‘s 500th home run with two aboard yielded the most WPA at 0.749, coming with two out in the 9th and the Phillies down a run. Frank Robinson‘s 500th also came with two out in the 9th, but with the Orioles down 7 runs it failed to nudge the WPA meter even to 0.001.

Now, it’s your turn to try your luck at 500th home run trivia.

  1. Who is the youngest player to reach 500 home runs? (Alex Rodriguez, 2007-08-04, aged 32 years, 8 days) And, the oldest? (Ted Williams, 1960-06-17, aged 41 years, 292 days)
  2. Which player’s 500th homer came off a future HOFer? (Eddie Mathews, 1967-07-14, off Juan Marichal)
  3. Which player had a pinch-hit 500th homer? (Gary Sheffield, 2009-04-17)
  4. Which player hit a walk-off 500th homer? (Jim Thome, 2007-09-16)
  5. Which two players hit their 500th homer in their final season? (Ted Williams, 1960-06-17 and Gary Sheffield 2009-04-17)
  6. Which two players connected for the second time in the game to reach no. 500? (Albert Pujols, 2014-04-22 and David Ortiz, 2015-09-12)
  7. Which player homered in both ends of a double-header to reach no. 500? (Frank Robinson, 1971-09-13)
  8. What is the longest gap between 500th home runs? (Mel Ott, 1945-08-01 to Ted Williams, 1960-06-17, 14 years, 321 days) And, the shortest? (Harmon Killebrew, 1971-08-10 to Frank Robinson, 1971-09-13, 34 days)
  9. Which player reached no. 500 exactly one year after his predecessor (and did so against the same opponent)? (Hank Aaron, 1968-07-14, one year after Eddie Mathews)
  10. Which two players reached no. 500 with their first home run of the season? (Sammy Sosa, 2003-04-04 and Gary Sheffield 2009-04-17) And, who did so with his last tater of the year? (Jimmie Foxx, 1940-09-24)
  11. Which player had the most home runs in the season he reached 500? (Barry Bonds, 73 in 2001) And, who had the fewest? (Gary Sheffield, 10 in 2009)
  12. Which two three players were selected as league MVP the year they hit no. 500? (Willie Mays 1965, Barry Bonds 2001, Alex Rodriguez 2007)
  13. Which player reached 500 homers after being traded earlier in the same season? (Eddie Murray, 1996-09-06) And, which two hit no. 500 before being traded later the same season? (Eddie Mathews, 1967-07-14 and Manny Ramirez, 2008-05-31)
  14. Which player hit his 500th home run in an inter-league game? (Albert Pujols, 2014-04-22)

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Richard Chester
Richard Chester
3 months ago

Answer to question 5: Ted Williams and Gary Sheffield.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
3 months ago

Answer to question 4: Jim Thome on 9/16/2007.

Jeff Harris
Jeff Harris
3 months ago

13a: Eddie Murray hit #500 after being traded from Cleveland to Baltimore in 1996.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
3 months ago

Answers to question 10: Gary Sheffield and Sammy Sosa for the first HR and Jimmie Foxx for the last.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
3 months ago

For question 8 I am going to stick my neck out for the longest gap and say about 15 years for Mel Ott and Ted Williams.

Doug
Doug
3 months ago

Your neck is still intact. That is the longest span between 500th home runs.

Scary Tuna
Scary Tuna
3 months ago
Reply to  Doug

Good observation, Doug. In contrast, Willie Mays was the fifth player to hit a 500th HR and has now seen 23 others do so after him.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
3 months ago
Reply to  Doug

I have “seen” every 500th HR except for Babe Ruth.

Paul E
Paul E
3 months ago

#1) A-Rod ?

Jeff Harris
Jeff Harris
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul E

#1) I’ll take a stab and say Murray was oldest (40 years old)

Doug
Doug
3 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Harris

It wasn’t Murray.

Paul E
Paul E
3 months ago
Reply to  Doug

Is ithe oldestTed Williams?

Doug
Doug
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul E

A-Rod is the youngest, at age 32.

Doug
Doug
3 months ago

Detroit beat Toronto 2-1 on Friday night, with the winning run scoring on a Victor Reyes pinch-IPHR in the home 8th. Just the 31st pinch-IPHR since 1916, and only the 3rd (and first since 1936) providing the go-ahead run in a team’s potential last ABs (there are no walk-off pinch-IPHR, but there have been 5 game-tying pinch-IPHR in a team’s potential last ABs).

Those 31 pinch IPHR have been hit by 30 batters. Dustan Mohr is the lone man with a pair, one for the Giants in 2004 and another for the Rockies the following season.

Last edited 3 months ago by Doug
Mike L
Mike L
3 months ago

Answer to 12 is Willie Mays (1965) and Barry Bonds (2001)

Doug
Doug
3 months ago
Reply to  Mike L

Correct. But, I just realized there’s a third answer to the question.

Mike L
Mike L
3 months ago
Reply to  Doug

Alex Rodriguez

Scary Tuna
Scary Tuna
3 months ago

For question #13, I believe the two players who hit HR #500 and were then traded later the same season were Eddie Mathews and Manny Ramirez.

Mike L
Mike L
3 months ago
Reply to  Scary Tuna

Kind of fun reminder of pre-Marvin Miller days. For all but his last season, Matthews salary peaked at $67,500 for his year 29 season. His age 30-33 seasons he had an aggregate 23.7 BWAR, and took a cut in pay after an 8 BWAR year.

Scary Tuna
Scary Tuna
3 months ago
Reply to  Mike L

Good point, Mike L. Things sure looked different then. Mathews’ salary varied over several years – in about $2,500 increments. I found an article reporting that he signed a contract for $60,000 ahead of the 1961 season. The additional $7,500 seems likely to be due to meeting incentives. The $67,500 he earned in 1961 is comparable to just over $616,000 today – or a little more than the MLB minimum of $570,500. If we could put Scott Boras in a time machine, is it fair to wonder what he might have finagled for clients like Mathews sixty years ago? Even… Read more »

Mike L
Mike L
3 months ago
Reply to  Scary Tuna

Marvin Miller was incredibly effective. Boras in 1961 without free agency…would have been interesting to see. Tuna, are you old enough to remember the joint Koufax/Drysdale holdout?

Scary Tuna
Scary Tuna
3 months ago
Reply to  Mike L

No, my baseball memory starts about a decade later (which also spared me living through Koufax, Drysdale, and Claude Osteen shutting down the Twins in seven games to win the 1965 World Series). I have heard their holdout together was a turning point in baseball’s labor relations.

Bob Eno (epm)
Bob Eno (epm)
2 months ago
Reply to  Scary Tuna

My recollection is that the Koufax/Drysdale holdout was basically a management victory. The reason was Drysdale’s weak position. The two had alternated as team ace for a few years, mostly because injuries had held Koufax back in ’62 and ’64, but his ’65 season was amazing (26-8, 2.04 ERA, 382 K, a perfect game, two Series wins . . . I don’t think anyone yet understood context of the “era of the pitcher”); Drysdale was fine, but apart from W-L, he was no better than Osteen. Koufax knew his arm was hanging on by a thread, and he was endangering… Read more »

Mike L
Mike L
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob Eno (epm)

Bob, It’s just amazing how much pressure they put on starters even in our lifetimes. Koufax led the Majors in IP in his last two years, 1965 and 66, with a combined 658. Drysdale led in 1962 and 1964 and was over 300IP for four consecutive seasons. Teams paid very little, so weren’t looking at overuse as endangering big, long term investments, And there was this culture of toughness, even after teams went to 5 man rotations, …which Billy Martin brought back, most notoriously with the 1980 A’s, with 5 pitchers over 211 IP.

Bob Eno (epm)
Bob Eno (epm)
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike L

Michael, according to Doug’s research, each start in ’65 averaged about 40% more IP than 2019, and judging by leader boards leading starters pitched over 20% more starts. On the other hand, I suppose velocity has climbed maybe 5%, and stress from spin would be up too. My thought is that a true measure of “comparative toughness” would figure average arm-stress by multiplying [starts*pitch-count*velocity*spin]. Just the availability of the data has surely had enormous influence on pitcher-handling strategy, independent of salary costs. But I’m sure your point about the impact of salaries is right too: the disappearance of the 300… Read more »

Mike L
Mike L
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob Eno (epm)

Bob, I was not a Koufax fan while he was pitching (impossible for a Yankee fan, I think) but it’s amazing both that he carried that burden, and that he was willing to stop cold at 30. As for velocity, perhaps comparative velocity played a big role…it seems like almost every starter now throws in the 90’s and many the mid nineties…and that’s before they bring in the bullpen guys to throw 100. Hitters have adjusted somewhat–but it’s more of a TTO adjustment. Interesting take on possible reasons why Alston and O’Malley might have treated Koufax as expendable.

Bob Eno (epm)
Bob Eno (epm)
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike L

Sure it’s possible for a young Yankee fan to have rooted for a Dodger star, Michael, just as I rooted for Yankee stars like . . . Never mind. I think that while absolute speed matters, clearly speed relative to league norms is the key for stars. But the thing that set Koufax apart wasn’t his speed so much as that he was able after 1961 to apply that speed to an accurate curve. As for stopping cold at 30, the doctors had told Koufax he could lose his arm (not “lose that great pitching arm,” but “lose your left… Read more »

Mike L
Mike L
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob Eno (epm)

Doug, this is why Bob Eno should write HHS posts on a semi-regular basis.

Paul E
Paul E
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike L

Bob Eno, Mike L,
If management wants a better return on their starting pitching investment, they can build bigger ballparks and eliminate the starters fear of the fly ball and the absolute obsession with the strikeout. Maybe, then, these guys can pitch into the 7th inning. It is kind of disgusting to hear about aces who pitch 220 innings with 1 shutout and 2 CG’s. But, I’m just old, too….or too old
How many starters are averaging 7 innings/start in 2021? It seems that the only time a CG gets thrown is when there is a no-hitter on the line.

Mike L
Mike L
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul E

Paul E, I know it’s impractical, but i’d max out the pitching staff to a lower level than it is today. If you can mandate that each pitcher pitch to at least 3 batters, you can reduce the available number of arms per game. Have a “scratch” list for emergencies or extra Innings. If a pitcher is removed from a game for an injury, and they have to go to the scratch list to replace him, have the injured pitcher sit out for a week. Maybe just 4 pitchers to get 200IP this season….no way anyone gets to 7IP per… Read more »

Paul E
Paul E
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike L

Mike L.
“But I feel like Statler and Waldorf on the Muppets.”

Yes, a wee bit persnickety.

Bob Eno (epm)
Bob Eno (epm)
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul E

Paul and Mike, I don’t know. The workhorse model of the ace pitcher was really attractive, and I miss the narrative that came along with pitchers like Roberts, Gibson, Carlton, etc., but there are other narratives. After all, baseball was invented as a stage for the other eight players: the pitcher was just there to let the batter put the ball in play and to field. (If the tee had been invented in the early 19th century, we might now be watching MLT: Major League T-Ball. . . I forget: have we discussed Jim Creighton here?) While I regret the… Read more »

Mike L
Mike L
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob Eno (epm)

Bob, these are good arguments. I’m certainly not looking to increase injuries by increasing starter workloads at the same time as velocity and spin rates are essential criteria for whether many pitchers advance through minor leagues. But I do have a beef about the constant situational swapping of pitchers, and that’s possible because so many teams carry a very thin bench so they can maximize the number of arms. Part of the strategy that we both seem to like is benefitted by a versatile bench. A 26 man roster with a 14 person pitching staff doesn’t do that.

Bob Eno (epm)
Bob Eno (epm)
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike L

Michael, I’d agree that some kinds of limited substitution rules make sense, such as the three-batter rule. It’s a play-on-the-field issue. I also agree that the idea of roster designations intended to limit the total pitching staff make sense. I think the growing proportion of MLB slots devoted to pitchers has a potential for unintended consequences to all levels of play. But I don’t think preserving the traditional starter role is in itself a good reason to do that. If a winning team had ten pitchers each able to pitch 140-150 IP in 1-2 inning chunks game after game, with… Read more »

Mike L
Mike L
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob Eno (epm)

It seems like we’ve gone from one pole to another…crazy workloads for starters, which they manage through pacing themselves, being physical freaks, and pain “management” veering over to the point where a 4-2 nine inning game features a dozen pitchers. I suppose you are correct–it doesn’t matter much what mix of pitchers you use in-game so long as you get an optimal result, both from performance and health aspect. i’m sure somewhere there has to be data on whether pitchers are suffering more serious injuries through this type of usage (both IP and intensity).

Bob Eno (epm)
Bob Eno (epm)
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike L

Perhaps the data does exist, Michael. I don’t have access to it if it does. My comments on increased arm stress meticulously rely on facts I made up.

Mike L
Mike L
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob Eno (epm)

Perfect for the modern age. I like to make facts up as well.

Doug
Doug
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike L

1920-1960 – 42 of 656 (6.4%) teams used 20 pitchers in a season
1961-1990 – 92 of 714 (12.9%) teams used 20 pitchers in a season
1991-2021 – 744 of 912 (81.6%) teams used 20 pitchers in a season

Mike L
Mike L
2 months ago
Reply to  Doug

Thanks, Doug. A bit of a trend?

Bob Eno (epm)
Bob Eno (epm)
2 months ago
Reply to  Doug

Quite an amazing set of stats, Doug. I tried to estimate changes in pitcher shares of 25-man rosters by looking at B-R the other day, and realized that there might be no tools there to reconstruct roster counts, because daily eligibility isn’t indicated. I wound up looking at long seasonal lists inflated by the 40-man September roster limit and personnel changes over a season–not recording players who may have been called up and never put in a game. The norms for pitchers on 25-man (hereafter 26-man) active rosters may not be recoverable from records available to us. Thinking about the… Read more »

Scary Tuna
Scary Tuna
3 months ago

Answers to #9 and #2: Hank Aaron hit #500 July 14, 1968 against Mike McCormick of the Giants, exactly one year after former teammate Eddie Mathews reached the milestone with a HR off the Giants’ (future Hall-of-Famer) Juan Marichal.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
3 months ago

Number 6: Manny Ramirez

Scary Tuna
Scary Tuna
3 months ago
Reply to  Doug

I ran across mention of both players for #6 the other day when trying to find the answer to another question. One was David Ortiz, but I can’t recall the other.

Scary Tuna
Scary Tuna
3 months ago
Reply to  Doug

Got it. Albert Pujols was the first to hit both #499 and #500 in the same game. David Ortiz matched that feat the next season.

Jeff Harris
Jeff Harris
3 months ago

11a (Most in a season): McGwire (65)

KDS
KDS
3 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Harris

Bonds had 494 at the end of the 2000 season….

Ted Williams is my guess for oldest.

KDS
KDS
3 months ago

For fewest I think Sheffield with 10.

Oldest, Ted Williams.

Most in year in which the 500th was hit? Well, Barry Bonds ended the 2000 season with 494….

(Posted a comment to the later two questions, came back from researching the fewest, and didn’t see my earlier comment, so reposted here.)

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
3 months ago

Number 7: Frank Robinson

Scary Tuna
Scary Tuna
3 months ago

The shortest gap between 500th home runs is 34 days, between Harmon Killebrew (August 10, 1968) and Frank Robinson (September 13, 1968). It wasn’t the shortest by much, though. In 2003, Sammy Sosa hit #500 on April 4th, with Rafael Palmeiro following just 37 days later on May 11th. In 2007, Frank Thomas hit his 500th HR on June 28th, with Alex Rodriguez doing likewise on August 4th, also a gap of exactly 37 days. Jim Thome next joined the 500 HR club 43 days later, on September 16th.

KDS
KDS
3 months ago

King Albert was the one to hit #500 in an interleague game. Against “my” Washington Nationals. This was his second HR of the game, both off Taylor Jordan, so he is the other answer to question 6.

Scary Tuna
Scary Tuna
3 months ago
Reply to  Doug

My guess would be the player hitting the fewest homers (10) of anyone in the season of their 500th HR. As it was also Gary Sheffield’s final season, he might have been playing more sparingly.

Doug
Doug
3 months ago
Reply to  Scary Tuna

You have guessed correctly. Sheffield appeared in 100 games in 2009, 32 of them as a pinch-hitter. His pinch-HR for no. 500 was the second and last of his career, the first coming 15 seasons earlier.

Paul E
Paul E
2 months ago

Powerball/September 8, 2021
09 22 41 47 61 Powerball 21

Last time this happened, the Dodgers won pennants in each of the five ‘seasons’ as well as the Powerball and defeated the Brewers in a Game 5 the following evening. The above would be Yankee pennant seasons with a WS winner thrown in for 2009, 1941, 1947, 1961.