Strange as it seems that two guys with the same name could win batting titles in the same season, it's hardly the happy coincidence it sounds like.
The good news is that baseball fans won't need a scorecard to tell Miguel and Melky Cabrera apart. A lab test will suffice.
Through Wednesday's games, Detroit's Cabrera, Miguel, was on pace to accomplish something even more historic. He was leading the American League in both batting average and RBIs, and was only one behind Texas' Josh Hamilton — 42-41 — in the home-run race. And because Hamilton is battling a sinus problem that affects his vision, the Rangers are likely to use him sparingly the final weeks of the regular season, boosting Cabrera's chances of winning a Triple Crown.
Yet even if Miguel Cabrera becomes the first player to claim the trifecta since Boston's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 — and wins the league's MVP award, too — his achievements could still be overshadowed by the other Cabrera.
That's because San Francisco's Melky — at 28, some 16 months younger than Miguel and no relation — could very well win the NL batting title while serving a 50-game suspension handed down in August after a positive drug test.
Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig has already weighed in on that very possibility, saying he's powerless to do anything about it.
"We'll see how it all plays out," Selig said in an interview for the YES Network. "We generally don't interfere in that process. We'll take a look at it at the end of the year."
And "look at it" is about all Selig intends to do.
"You can't change records" he added a moment later, "because once you get into that it would never stop."
Hard to disagree with Bud on this one, since neither he nor all the blue-ribbon panels that investigated the game's Supersized Era can say with certainty where the timeline begins or ends. Deciding how many tainted entries the record books hold would be trickier than answering how many ballplayers can dance on the tip of a hypodermic needle.
For the same reason, Selig can't go back and void the results of July's All-Star Game, when Melky Cabrera's contributions won him MVP honors and locked up home-field advantage for the NL in the World Series. (Wouldn't that be a kick in the shins if the Tigers and Giants wind up playing in it?) But even if there is little the commissioner can do, it's not as though Melky Cabrera is getting off easy.