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WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A. – POSTCARDS FROM THE U.S.A.
From: Maracay, Venezuela
Height/Weight: 6-feet-4, 240 pounds
Birthday: April 18, 1983 (Age 27)
Position: First base
Team: Detroit Tigers
Contract: He signed an eight-year, US$153.3 million contract in March 2008
What he’s been up to: The right-handed hitting first baseman is one of the favorites to win this year’s American League Most Valuable Player award, as he entered the second half of the season leading the majors in slugging percentage (.651). He was second in batting average (.346), runs batted-in (77) and extra-base hits (50) and third in the American League in home runs (22). He’s powered the Tigers to a record of 48-38, putting them a half-game behind first-place Chicago (49-38) in the American League Central. The five-time All-Star is one of the most versatile players in the Major Leagues, playing at least 100 games at third base, first base, right field and left field. In his first season in the big leagues in 2003, he helped lead the Marlins to a World Series title over the New York Yankees. Miguel Cabrera went on to earn four straight All-Star berths with Florida, including a pair of Silver Slugger awards as the top hitter at his position in the National League. But in late 2007, he was shipped to Detroit as part of a rebuilding process and less than three months later, he signed an eight-year, US$153.3 million contract.
Off the field: Miguel Cabrera practices both Catholicism and Santería and became a babalawo in 2006. He’s been known to wear multicolored Santería beads and keep several lighted candles and Santería icons in his locker. When he played for the Marlins, the team’s owner, Jeffrey Loria had a protective carrying case specially built so Miguel Cabrera could take his biggest item – the likeness of a carved skull on a four-foot stick – with him on road games. Miguel Cabrera and his wife, Rosangel, have two daughters – Rosangel, named after her mother, and Isabella, who was born in May of this year. Miguel Cabrera has turned around his life after his drinking problem led him to enter a rehabilitation facility in October of last year. He has rededicated himself to his faith and his family and has not consumed alcohol in the past nine months. “Religion has influenced me a lot. It's helped me find peace, health and stability with me and those around me,” he told a Venezuelan reporter. “I think this is one of the best things that has happened to me in my life … and I’m very proud to be a babalawo and be part of this religion.”
Did you know? Miguel Cabrera’s parents, Miguel and Gregoria, met on a baseball diamond. Miguel was an amateur player whose professional career never quite panned out, while Gregoria was a standout on the Venezuelan national softball team for 14 years. Miguel Cabrera grew up in a house just a few feet from the right field line at Maracay Stadium. “He grew up in a poor neighborhood. He married his first girlfriend. He played in the World Series and he came home and he is still the same person,” Victor Celis, a resident of Maracay, told Florida’s Palm Beach Post. “We see ourselves in him.”