Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson was named Outstanding Player in the American League and Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp took home the same award for the National League.
"Coming from your peers makes it all the more special," Verlander said. "With all the talk about [whether] a pitcher [should] be able to win MVP or a top player award, I think it shows a lot of support for my fellow players to be able to vote me for that. I think it means a lot. When it comes from your peers, the guys you're playing with, the guys you're playing against, it's special."
Verlander, who topped all AL pitchers with 24 wins, a 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts, is the first pitcher in the AL to win pitching's triple crown since Johan Santana accomplished the feat for the Twins in 2006. He's also the first pitcher to win the Player of the Year Award since Boston's Pedro Martinez in 1999.
"This is something special, something I never obviously could have thought of," Verlander said. "What an honor. I'm speechless."
The Rays' James Shields and Angels starter Jered Weaver were also nominated for Outstanding Pitcher in the American League. Boston's Adrian Gonzalez and Granderson were Verlander's competition for Player of the Year honors.
"It's an honor and a privilege just to be in the category -- that enough people in our league and division voted based off of what I did on the field," Granderson said of winning the AL honor. "It's amazing, especially with all the names that have played and the years that other players had. ... I am a big fan of the end-of-the-year awards because it promotes what you did over the course of the season from start to finish, not if you were hot in this month or cold in this month or started great or finished great."
Other winners include Rangers designated hitter Michael Young, who was named the winner of the 2011 Marvin Miller Man of The Year Award for the second time in the last four years. The Texas star and his wife, Cristina Barbosa, have been heavily involved in charitable activities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and recently created the Michael Young Family Foundation to support children's health.
Young has also been nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award in each of the last three seasons.
White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko and Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright were also nominated for the 2011 Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award.
"Any time you are recognized by your peers, it's the ultimate compliment," Young said. "This is very humbling. It really is a great honor."
In other honors, Braves closer Craig Kimbrel edged Phillies starter Vance Worley and Atlanta teammate Freddie Freeman for the Outstanding Rookie in the National League. Kimbrel set a single-season record for saves by a rookie, with 46.
Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo was named the Outstanding Rookie in the American League, winning over Kansas City's Eric Hosmer and Tampa Bay pitcher Jeremy Hellickson.
"I couldn't be happier," Trumbo told MLB Network. "It's something that holds a tremendous amount of importance to me."
Back on the mound, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw was named the National League Outstanding Pitcher. The left-hander won the triple crown in the NL with 21 wins, a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts. Philadelphia's Roy Halladay and Arizona's Ian Kennedy were also nominated.
"It sounds awesome," Kershaw told MLB Network. "More than anything, to have your peers recognize something you did on the field is pretty special. I don't take it lightly."
Boston outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury was named the American League Comeback Player of the Year, and Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman won the award for the NL. Berkman, who hit .248 with 14 home runs and 58 RBIs in 2010, rebounded with 31 home runs, 94 RBIs and a .301 batting average in 2011. Ellsbury, who played in only 18 games and hit .192 in 2010, hit .321 this past season.
But players were not the only winners on Thursday.
In all, winners of 2011 Players Choice Awards will designate charities to receive grants totaling $260,000 from the Major League Baseball Players Trust, the charitable foundation created by the players. And in addition to the $70,000 in grants he received for his charity of choice, Verlander contributed $30,000.