Pittsburgh Pirates left-hander Rich Hill, 43, is the oldest player to pitch in a Major League Baseball game this season. Detroit Tigers designated Miguel Cabrera, 40, is the oldest American League player to bat this season. You needn’t require more preamble to understand why a footrace between the two, on a ball hit to the right side of the infield during their teams’ Wednesday contest, raised eyebrows and spirits alike.
Take a look for yourself:
The winner was Hill, you’d say. In a sense. In another, more broad sense: we were all bettered for having witnessed the above in all its HD brilliance. To wit, Cabrera happened to post his fastest sprint speed of the year, covering about 25 feet per second, according to Statcast. For reference, an elite sprint speed is considered to be anything north of 30 feet per second. Cabrera himself had averaged 22.5 feet per second entering Wednesday, ranking him in the 1st percentile overall.
For those wondering, this is far from the first time the two have met. Hill and Cabrera first faced off back on June 15, 2005. Cabrera won that battle, doubling to right field. They had subsequently squared off on 18 other occasions coming into Wednesday. Cabrera had, more often than not, gotten the better end of the equation. Through those first 19 plate appearances, he had batted .421/.421/.684 with a home run and four runs batted in.
Even so, it was Hill who won his particular occasion on Wednesday, and who appears to be doing a better job of holding back Father Time. Whereas Cabrera entered Wednesday batting .189/.250/.230 (36 OPS+) in his first 21 games this season, Hill had posted a 4.35 ERA (100 ERA+) and a 2.77 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his first eight starts.