Verlander Named AL MVP

November 21, 2011
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Nov. 21, 2011

DETROIT - Former ODU pitching great Justin Verlander (ODU'04) has been named the American League's MVP, adding it to the Cy Young Award he won last week.

Verlander earned the American League MVP honor Monday, receiving 13 of 28 first-place votes and 280 points in voting announced by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Boston center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury was second with four firsts and 242 points, followed by Toronto right fielder Jose Bautista with five firsts and 231 points, Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson with 215 and Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera with 193.

Verlander won the AL's pitching triple crown, going 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts, the most wins in the major leagues since Oakland's Bob Welch went 27-6 in 1990. Verlander pitched his second career no-hitter at Toronto on May 7.

He became the first pitcher voted MVP since Oakland's Dennis Eckersley in 1992 and the first starting pitcher since Boston's Roger Clemens in 1986. The 2006 AL Rookie of the Year, Verlander joined the Brooklyn Dodgers' Don Newcombe as the only players to win all three majors awards in their careers.

The last starting pitcher to be named AL MVP was Roger Clemens of the Red Sox in 1986. The last pitcher to win the award was A's closer Dennis Eckersley in 1992.

Verlander became the Tigers' fifth MVP in the past 70 seasons. All of them have been pitchers, joining Verlander with relief great Guillermo Hernandez in 1984, 31-game-winner Denny McLain in 1968 and Hal Newhouser in 1944 and '45.

Other pitchers to win MVP and CY Young in the same year are Newcombe (1956), Sandy Koufax (1963), St.Louis' Bob Gibson and Detroit's Denny McLain (1968), Oakland's Vida Blue (1971), Milwaukee's Rollie Fingers (1981) and Detroit's Hernandez (1984).

Verlander wouldn't allow the MVP debate to overshadow his AL Cy Young award last week. Still, it was clear that it was on his mind, and he didn't hide the fact that he wanted the dual honor.

"If you had told me at the beginning of the year I would be a shoo-in for the Cy Young, I would have been excited and ecstatic. I would've never even thought about the MVP," Verlander told reporters on his Cy Young conference call.

While at ODU, Verlander was a Freshman All-American, two-time All-CAA, CAA Rookie of The Year and two-time ABCA All-Region selection. He is the all-time strikeout king in ODU, CAA and Virginia Division I history with 427 in just 335.2 innings of work. A Silver Medalist on the USA 2006 Pan Am team, Verlander was the 2006 American League Rookie of the Year and four-time selection to the AL All-Star team.