Nunie’s Pumped

In a Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon kind of way, the Worcester Tornadoes have something to celebrate. For the first time in 45 seasons, a Major League Baseball player has won the Triple Crown. Miguel Cabrera led the American League in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in this past baseball season. Miguel never set foot in a Can-Am League stadium or played independent baseball, but he has a strong tie to one of the players that has called Central Mass home for the last couple of summers.

It’s not a former major leaguer who’s connected to perhaps the best hitter of this generation, though former Tornadoes infielder Abraham Nunez played against him while they were both playing for National League squads. Outfielder/Infielder/Speed Demon Alex Nunez grew up with the Tigers’ first baseman in Venezuela, and is friends with him to this day.

Over the past two summers, Nunie has shared plenty of stories with me about Miggy, including the fact that he knew all along that his friend would do something great in baseball someday.

His favorite story involved playing with Miguel in the Venezuelan Winter League. In the 2004-2005 season, they both played for the Tigres de Aragua, the team that ultimately won the championship. During the round robin post-season tournament, Cabrera squared off against Francisco Rodriguez late in a game and had his own Ruthian moment.

While he was in the dugout before his at-bat, Miguel knew exactly how the trip to the plate would play out. K-Rod would start him with a fastball, pound another one in, then toss a slider, he said to Alex and his teammates. Here’s what happened on the third pitch:


You’ll notice in the video that Cabrera points to the dugout while rounding third base. That was his “I told you so” to his childhood friend.

I’m sure the next get together Alex’s and Miguel’s families have will be a pretty happy one now that Miggy is one milestone closer to the Hall of Fame. It would be even sweeter with some more hardware though. Although I’m rooting for pretty much every team in the bigs to win the World Series for various reasons, Miguel Cabrera and his buddy are why all Tornadoes fans should be cheering the Tigers on.

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