NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Miguel Cabrera won the vote of his peers and baseball writers last month. Now, he has the vote of the fans, pulling off the sweep.
Not only did Cabrera earn the honor as MLB's Hitter of the Year with this year's Greatness in Baseball Yearly (GIBBY) Awards, he took the MLB MVP award over Angels rookie sensation Mike Trout and National League MVP Buster Posey.
It was a fitting tribute for a player who not only won the first batting Triple Crown in 45 years, but for a hitter in his prime providing the bulk of his team's offense during the Tigers' September run to their second straight American League Central title -- then helping Detroit all the way to the World Series.
Major League Baseball's A-listers won 2012 GIBBYs trophies -- the ultimate honors of baseball's awards season -- based on votes by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, fans at MLB.com and the Society for American Baseball Research.
This year's GIBBY Awards featured nominees in 21 categories. Individual honors went to the year's best starting pitcher, closer, setup man, rookie, breakout hitter, breakout pitcher, comeback player, defensive player, manager, executive and postseason performer.
GIBBY trophies were also awarded for the year's top play, storyline, hitting performance, pitching performance, oddity, walk-off, Cut4 topic and postseason moment, from MLB.com's Must C highlight reels.
The big awards, however, focused on MVP honors. And just as in other award sets, Cabrera's historic season won out.
Though Cabrera followed Carl Yastrzemski, Frank Robinson and Mickey Mantle in 1967, '66 and '56, respectively, as players to win an MVP in a Triple Crown season, the evolution of statistics in the 45 years since Yaz's feat led to debate over the significance. Nowhere did that debate seemed to simmer as it did among fans.
Some modern stats that have turned standard reinforced Cabrera's feat as a hitter, including a .999 OPS that easily outpaced the league and 139 runs created that squeaked him past leadoff weapon Trout. Others had the opposite effect.
In almost any other season, the debate would've been muted. Trout's historic campaign, however, raised the bar far beyond a unanimous victory for him as AL Rookie of the Year.
Trout fell one stolen base shy of a 30-homer, 50-steal season, and he did it with just 54 stolen-base attempts. His .326 average placed him second only to Cabrera in the batting race, OPS leadership, runs created and batting runs. Despite spending the first three weeks of the season in the Minors, he led the league in runs scored. It was an historic season for any player, let alone a 20-year-old.
The more the debate lingered, the more Hall of Famer Ted Williams -- a two-time Triple Crown winner in '42 and '47 who finished second in MVP balloting both times -- was mentioned. Unlike Williams' Red Sox, Cabrera's Tigers made it to the postseason thanks to a September rally. Without Cabrera's offensive boost, it's extremely difficult to envision them getting there.
Cabrera's late-season charge changed the look of the race statistically. While he batted .344 (73-for-212) with 42 runs scored, 19 home runs and 54 RBIs after Aug. 1, Trout hit .287 with 12 homers, 28 RBIs and 49 runs.
Slash those stats to just Sept. 1 onward, and the difference remains. Cabrera hit .333 with 11 homers, 30 RBIs, 23 runs and a 1.071 OPS in the season's final month. Trout hit .289 with five homers, nine RBIs, 23 runs and a .900 OPS.
The Tigers scored 130 runs from Sept. 1 to season's end. Cabrera scored or drove in 42 of them. Cabrera, leading only in RBIs going into August, took over the other two leaderboards in September, including his second consecutive batting crown.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.