Los tres mil hits de Cabrera valdrán más que sus 500 jonrones

Los 500 jonrones de Miguel Cabrera son el más trascendental hito estadístico alcanzado por un venezolano en las Grandes Ligas. Superan a su Triple Corona de 2012, a los 62 salvados de Francisco Rodríguez en 2008, a los 11 Guantes de Oro de Omar Vizquel y las 8.016 asistencias de Luis Aparicio. El cuadrangular, por ser el éxtasis del beisbol, se sienta a la derecha del padre en este deporte. Es su clímax, su punto de ebulición, la apoteosis.

Ese medio millar de vuelacercas serán la cúspide de gestas numéricas para criollos en las mayores hasta que Miguel Cabrera aterrice en la pista de los tres mil imparables.

Un buen amigo, conocedor, del juego y su historia, se mostró dudoso cuando comenté que, a mi juicio, en este momento tres mil hits representan más que 500 jonrones. Su argumento era que la lista de los tres mil era un poco más larga que la de los 500. Por tanto, en los libros de la Gran Carpa, había un porcentaje menor de peloteros capaces de despachar las cinco centenas de bambinazos con respecto a la porción de firmantes de tres mil incontenibles.

Son jonrones -y una lista más restringida, contra hits y una membresía más amplia ¿Cómo van a ser más relevantes los tres mil que los 500?

Por el espíritu de la época

Vivimos en la edad de la eclosión de los jonrones. Un momento en la evolución del juego en la cual un turbión de cuadrangulares arrastra todo a su paso, como una marejada. Y mientras los sluggers borbotean, los hiteadores se repliegan.

Revisemos el plantel de bateadores de 500 cuadrangulares. Con Miguel Cabrera llegaron a solo 28 entre más de veinte mil peloteros que han transitado por el Circo Máximo. Once de esos 28 alcanzaron la cifra en los últimos 20 años: Barry Bonds, Alex Rodríguez, Albert Pujols, Ken Griffey Jr., Jim Thome, Samuel Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Manny Ramírez, David Ortiz, Gary Sheffield, Miguel Cabrera. 39% de los autores de medio millar de cuadrangulares han entrado al círculo entre 2011 y 2021. En el beisbol se instauró una cultura del jonrón que ha propiciado que seis de los nueve hombres con 600 bombazos sean contemporáneos nuestros: Bonds, A-Rod, Pujols, Griffey Jr., Thome y Sosa.   

Con los tres mil hits la situación es diferente

La llegada de un productor de millares de imparables se ha vuelto cada vez más esporádica. Mientras que 11 de los 28 fabricantes de 500 jonrones ingresaron a la fraternidad entre 2001 y 2021, solo siete de los 30 con tres mil inatajables han franqueado los muros en ese mismo lapso, cifra equivalente a 23,3% (Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols, Adrián Beltré, Alex Rodríguez, Ichiro Suzuki, Craig Biggio y Rafael Palmeiro. Como puede verse, se ha vuelto más exquisito el mesón de los tres mil que el de los 500, al menos durante las últimas dos décadas.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CS40YZTnILs/

Como fue publicado en una columna anterior, cabe la posibilidad de que Miguel Cabrera, una vez sume los tres mil hits, pase a ser el último de su especie. Los toleteros tienen el chip del jonrón inserto en la piel. Ya lo dijo alguna vez Alex Bregman, el tercera base de los Astros de Houston. La frase exacta no la recuerdo, pero sí su espíritu: “Si yo quisiera, pudiera batear para .340, pero eso no es lo que me piden que haga. Me piden más extrabases, más jonrones”. Por eso un generador de tres mil hits será, cada día más, una extravagancia.

En la escala de valores de Miguel Cabrera, la opción preferencial es tajante. Lo expresó con claridad en una rueda de prensa que ofreció el martes 24 de agosto de 2021 para periodistas hispanoparlantes: “Para mí, lo que más quiero hacer en mi carrera, es llegar a los 3.000 hits, pienso que es una de las metas que quiero lograr. Mi sueño es tirar los 3.000. Es algo que estoy buscando y sigo trabajando para eso”.

Esta jerarquización no es nueva en Cabrera. Hacia 2006, cuando comenzaba su estrellato, el hoy cañonero de los Tigres de Detroit afirmaba que, entre batear .300 y dar cuarenta jonrones, él priorizaba los .300 (luego haría ambas cosas en simultáneo y por eso se ha vuelto un miembro en trámite del Salón de la Fama). Esa aseveración nos daba una pista sobre qué apreciaría más en el futuro entre los tres mil y los 500.

¿Qué esperamos?

Según las proyecciones de ESPN, Miguel Cabrera terminará la temporada de 2021 con 2.982 incogibles. Si se cumple este cálculo, el gran día se celebrará a principios de 2022.  Ese día ingresará al Salón de la Fama del Salón de la Fama, con 500 jonrones y tres mil hits en sus alforjas. Y cuando se retire con un promedio sobre .300 de por vida ( y es casi un hecho que así será) se cerrará el círculo de la excelencia.

Por lo pronto, Miguel Cabrera se reafirma como el mejor pelotero venezolano de cualquier época. Acaso sea el atleta nacional que más y por más tiempo ha dominado su disciplina. Ha sido una carrera orlada por el éxito. No han faltado contratiempos. Tampoco la capacidad para sortearlos hasta encaminarse hacia la eternidad. “En los momentos duros es cuando sabes quiénes son tus verdaderos amigos. Y yo pude ver quiénes eran los míos”, llegó a decir sobre un momento difícil de su vida. Una legión de admiradores se sienta a verlo todos los días escribiendo su enciclopedia de triunfos.  

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