DETROIT – Justin Verlander was named the American League Most Valuable Player today in voting conducted by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Verlander is the first pitcher to win the award since Oakland’s Dennis Eckersley in 1992 and the first starting pitcher to win the award since Boston’s Roger Clemens in 1986.
Verlander has now won the American League Rookie of the Year (2006), American League Cy Young Award (2011) and American League Most Valuable Player (2011). He is the second player in major league history to win all three awards, joining Don Newcombe who did so with the Brooklyn Dodgers by winning the National League Rookie of the Year (1949), Cy Young Award (1956) and National League Most Valuable Player (1956).
Verlander is the seventh player in franchise history to win the Most Valuable Player. He is the fourth Tigers pitcher to earn the award, joining Guillermo Hernandez (1984), Denny McLain (1968) and Hal Newhouser (1944, 1945). Hank Greenberg (1935, 1940), Charlie Gehringer (1937) and Mickey Cochrane (1934) also won Most Valuable Player with the Tigers.
Verlander led the American League with 24 wins, a 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts in 2011 to become just the second pitcher in franchise history to lead all three categories in a single season, joining Hal Newhouser, who accomplished the feat in 1945. He became the first American League pitcher to win the triple crown since Minnesota’s Johan Santana did so in 2006. In addition to leading the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts, Verlander also topped all league pitchers with an .828 winning percentage, 251.0 innings pitched, a .192 batting average against, 6.24 hits per nine innings and 8.39 baserunners per nine innings.
Additional season superlatives included a 16-3 record following a Tigers loss. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it marked the most wins by a pitcher following a team loss since Steve Carlton posted 19 such wins for the Philadelphia Phillies during the 1972 season. With 250 strikeouts, Verlander has now recorded 200-or-more strikeouts in three straight seasons, marking the longest streak by a Tigers pitcher since Mickey Lolich did so in six straight seasons from 1969-74. Verlander now ranks seventh in franchise history with 1,215 strikeouts.
Verlander further etched his name into the record books on May 7 at Toronto when he tossed the second no-hitter of his career, allowing just one walk in a 9-0 victory over the Blue Jays. He became the second pitcher in franchise history to toss two career no-hitters, joining Virgil Trucks who fired two no-hitters during the 1952 season. According to STATS, LLC, he is the 27th pitcher to record two career no-hitters in the American or National League.