In recent years, Topps has reserved six cards within Series 1 for the AL and NL award winners that are being announced this week. Unfortunately, this year's preliminary checklist doesn't specify what numbers are being held for the them. But yesterday afternoon, we learned who was named the American League's Most Valuable Player.
Congratulations to Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers for being named the American League's Most Valuable Player. The AL Cy Young winner, the AL Triple Crown winner, and new MVP, turned in one of the best pitching performances in MLB history. The numbers don't lie. He led the AL in Wins, ERA, K's, and WHIP (24-5 record, 2.40 ERA, 250 K's, and .920 WHIP in 251 innings of work).
Verlander becomes the first Tiger to win the MVP award since 1984 when Willie Hernandez (who by the way, also was a pitcher) took the prize home. In fact, all the Tigers who were eventually named MVP were pitchers (Denny McLain won in 1968 AND 1969, Hal Newhouser in 1944 AND 1945). He received 13 of 28 first-place votes (280 points), beating a field that included Jacoby Ellsbury of the Red Sox (242, 4 first-place votes), Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays (231, 5), Curtis Granderson of the Yankees (215, 3), Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers (193, 2), Robinson Cano of the Yankees (112), Adrian Gonzalez of the Red Sox (105), Michael Young of the Rangers (96, 1), Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox (48), Evan Longria of the Rays (27), Ian Kinsler of the Rangers (25), Alex Avila of the Tigers (13), Paul Konerko of the White Sox (11), CC Sabathia of the Yankees (10), Adrian Beltre of the Rangers (9), Ben Zobrist of the Rays (7), Victor Martinez of the Tigers (7), James Shields of the Rays (7), Mark Teixeira of the Yankees (5), Asdrubal Cabrera of the Indians (4), Alex Gordon of the Royals (3), Josh Hamilton of the Rangers (1), and David Robertson of the Yankees (1).
In a move that is not necessarily unprecedented, but yet highly debated amongst fans, experts, and even the Hobby Message Boards, a pitcher has won the top prize in the American League. Verlander is the first pitcher to win the AL MVP since 1992 (Dennis Eckersley) and the first starting pitcher to do so since 1986 (Roger Clemens).
Let the debates continue. Did your guy win???