DETROIT, MICH. - His name is J.J. Hicks and he holds down third base for his team in the East Muskegon Little League. He’s not known for his hitting or fielding prowess, yet. Instead, he’s become known for his extreme resemblance to Detroit Tigers’ slugger Miguel Cabrera.
“When I attend J.J.’s games, I’d hear people whispering about how much he looks like Miguel Cabrera, said Melinda Theiste, J.J.’s mother. “It just went on and on, and more and more and more people kept saying how much he looked like him.”
Theiste says the references to J.J.’s resemblance to Cabrera started when he was 7, but intensified this past spring.
“My mother had a photo of me next to a photo of Miguel Cabrera and I look a lot like him,” said Hicks. “I just wish I could hit home runs like him.”
Theiste put the side-by-side photo of J.J. and Cabrera on her Facebook page and the post blew up with several comments and likes.
“The response has been overwhelming for all of us,” added Theiste. J.J. became known as ‘Little Miggy’ by many of the people who come to watch his games.”
Each time J.J. comes to the plate for an at-bat, the fans in the stands scream, “Let’s go, Little Miggy; get a hit, Little Miggy.”
Off the field, J.J. is obsessed with Miguel Cabrera.
“J.J. will come home from school, or from playing outside, and immediately get on the computer and watch YouTube videos of Cabrera.
“He really enjoys watching him and seeing him bat.
“If you check the ‘history’ on his computer, I can pretty much guarantee it’s all Miguel Cabrera.”
J.J. tends to goof around a lot while he plays, much like Cabrera does.
“I don’t always pay attention, and will occasionally sing songs and dance around,” said Hicks. “I like to play jokes on my team mates, just like Miguel does.”
After the WZZM story on “Little Miggy” aired on June 21, it was shared on social media, where the Detroit Tigers clicked on it and watched it. After some email exchanges between WZZM and the Tigers’ Media Relations staff, J.J. Hicks and his family were invited to the Tigers’ game at Comerica Park on Wednesday, July 5 so J.J. could meet Miguel Cabrera.
J.J., his mother, Melinda and his father, Jonathan Hicks, all arrived at the ballpark around 4 p.m. on July 5. Each was processed in the Tigers’ administrative offices, and given a special pass that allowed them to go onto the field during batting practice.
A member of the Tigers’ operations team escorted J.J. and his parents down into the bowels of Comerica Park then out onto the field through a tunnel behind home plate. This was the first Major League baseball game for all three of them, so walking onto the field was an amazing experience for them in and of itself.
While J.J. waited patiently inside a cordoned-off area behind home plate, he was able to watch several members of the Tigers playing catch and take batting practice, in preparation for the game that night against the San Francisco Giants.
“I want to play catch with them,” Hicks said, with a smile stretching across his face.
About 20 minutes after J.J. and his parents walked onto the field, Miguel Cabrera walked out of the Tigers’ dugout and was escorted by a team staffer toward where J.J. was standing.
The look on J.J.’s face was priceless, as the 6-foot-4 Cabrera approached J.J., meaning the ‘Meeting of the Miggys’ was about to begin.
“Hi, how are you,” said Cabrera, with his hand out to shake J.J.’s.
“I’m good, and you,” J.J. responded, standing inches from Cabrera, tilting his head all the way back to look up at the slugger.
Cabrera reached for J.J.s baseball glove, grabbed a permanent marker, autographed the glove, then handed it back to J.J.
When asked if he thought J.J. looked like him, Cabrera responded by saying, “I think it’s nice; a lot of people say that about a lot of kids where I’m from in Venezuela, so I’m not surprised at all.”
Cabrera then offered up some important advice for J.J.
“This [meeting] is a great opportunity for him and for me,” Cabrera said. “I hope he keeps [playing baseball] and stays in school, and try to be the best person he can be.
“Stay in school is first, and baseball is second.”
Cabrera and J.J. then paused for some photos together. Once the pictures were taken, they’re brief meeting came to an end.
“It was nice to meet you, buddy,” Cabrera said.
“You, too,” said J.J.
“Give me five,” said Cabrera, as he stretched out his hand. “I will see you.”
Cabrera then walked off toward the batting cage, and J.J. ventured back inside the cordoned-off area where he rejoined his parents.
“That was so cool,” said Hicks, after the meeting of the Miggys concluded. “I was excited, and I’m so happy he signed my glove.”
While the two Miggys were sharing their on-field moment, his parents were taking several pictures on their phones and sharing them on social media.
“That was probably the coolest thing in the whole world,” said Theiste who, admittedly, was also excited. “I don’t know how J.J. kept it together because I probably would have been jumping up and down [if I had the chance to meet Miguel Cabrera].
“[Seeing Miguel Cabrera up close], I still think he looks like J.J.,” added Theiste. “He could be his kid, even though his dad is standing right here [with me].”
Jonathan Hicks agreed.
“When [Miguel Cabrera] walked out onto the field, I was thinking, that looks like what J.J. will look like when he’s older,” said Jonathan. “[Miguel Cabrera] looks like a big J.J. to me.”
J.J. and his family remained on the field for a little while longer, before they made their way to their seats to watch the game. Once they settled into their seats, J.J. was asked what could top meeting Miguel Cabrera.
Little Miggy responded by saying, “I’d like to see Miguel hit a home run tonight, and see a Tigers win.”
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