December 24, 1971 |
Caripito, Monagas State, Venezuela
|Bats: Right||Throws: Right|
|MLB: June 26, 2000 for the Arizona Diamondbacks|
|NPB: March 24, 2001 for the Seibu Lions|
(through 2011 season)
|Runs batted in||946|
|Career highlights and awards|
Alex Cabrera (born December 24, 1971) is a Venezuelan first baseman and right-handed batter who played in Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball. He was released by the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks on July 31, 2012 after signing with them prior to the 2011 season.
He was signed by the Chicago Cubs as an amateur free agent in 1991, and moved to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays organization before the 1998 season. Later, he signed with Arizona and before that, he also played for CPBL's Koos Group Whales in 1999.
After staying in the minors for nine seasons, he finally got a shot in the majors in 2000. A muscular slugger (6' 2", 220 lb.), Cabrera hit a home run during his first at-bat. He ended the season with a .262 average, five home runs, 14 RBI, 10 runs, two doubles, one triple and a .500 slugging percentage in 31 games.
After that, the Seibu Lions of the Japan Pacific League purchased his contract from Arizona.
In 2001, Cabrera batted .282, with 49 home runs and 124 RBI, and exploded with a .336, 55, 115 batting line in 2002, winning the Pacific League's MVP award. His 55 home runs tied Japan's single-season record, equaling the mark set by the legendary Sadaharu Oh in 1964 and matched by former big leaguer Tuffy Rhodes in 2001. Like Rhodes, Cabrera would see few good pitches for the remaining games after tying the record. He maintained his form in 2003, batting .324, 50, 112.
On October 26, 2004, pitcher Takashi Ishii went six strong innings and Cabrera hit a two-run towering homer as the Seibu Lions defeated the Chunichi Dragons 7–2 in Game 7 of the Japan Series to win their first championship since 1992. The ball bounced off the glass-enclosed private boxes above the left field seats. It was Cabrera's third home run of the series. He also hit a grand slam and a two-run homer in Game 3.
In six seasons with the Lions, Cabrera has been a .308 hitter with 246 home runs and 605 RBI in 708 games.
In January 2008, Cabrera signed a one-year contract with the Orix Buffaloes. It was reported that the contract had a requirement that Cabrera pass a drug test when he reported in February. He obtained free agency right in the 2009 season after playing 8 years in Japan (which removes himself as "foreign player" after the season ends), being the fourth non-Japanese players obtaining such classification in NPB.
At age 41, Cabrera is still an active professional baseball player for Tiburones de La Guaira in Venezuela. After 40 games during the 2013-14 season, Cabrera has participated in 37 of them, leading the league in average (.402), home runs (15) and RBIs (40). He has 23 games left to tie the league HR record in a single season in hands of Baudilio Diaz, who hit 20 in the 1979-80 season.
On December 13, 2007, Cabrera was linked to steroid use in the Mitchell Report, one of many MLB players so identified. The report detailed an incident in September 2000 when Cabrera was playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Team officials found a package that contained a vial of what they suspected to be anabolic steroids and several hundred pills. Clubhouse attendants claimed the package was intended for Cabrera. The contents of the package were tested and it was determined that the vial contained the anabolic steroid Winstrol, but the pills were legal, over-the-counter diet pills. Before the tests came back, however, Cabrera's contract had been sold to the Seibu Lions, so he was never tested for steroid use. Cabrera denied knowing why the package had been addressed to him
After the report came out, Cabrera denied ever using steroids.
While playing in Japan, where they conform to Olympic testing standards, he has never tested positive for performance enhancing drugs.
Cabrera's son Ramon is also a professional baseball player. The younger Alex, a switch-hitting catcher, signed his first pro contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in 2008, at the age of 18.
- "Cabrera stays in Japan league, joins Orix for $2.2 million". ESPN. January 9, 2008. Archived from the original on January 12, 2008. Retrieved January 9, 2008.
- "Mitchell Report pp. 94-5" (PDF).
- "Ex-D'back Alex Cabrera denies steroid use". USA Today. December 16, 2007. Retrieved December 26, 2007.
- "Alex Cabrera frente al informe Mitchell". Caracas Lions. December 14, 2007. Archived from the original on December 25, 2007. Retrieved December 26, 2007.
- White, Paul (December 24, 2007). "Ripple effect felt in Japan over Mitchell Report". USA Today. Retrieved December 26, 2007.
- Badler, Ben. "International Signing Roundup: NL Central", Baseball America, published October 13, 2008.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alex Cabrera.|
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
- Nippon Professional Baseball career statistics from Japanesebaseball.com
- The Baseball Guru Japanese Baseball Data Archive