Verlander Could Add Another Piece of Hardware To His Collection

There are still Justin Verlander jerseys in the stands at Comerica Park.

The former Tiger ace has many supporters in Detroit. Just last week when I was watching a game on television with my soon-to-be 93-year-old grandmother, she said “I was really mad when they traded Verlander.”

The Verlander Years left a strong impression on folks in Michigan. He (and his smoking hot, Michigan-born wife) still have a strong connection to the state, and there’s always a chance that Justin could end his career back in the Motor City.

His current team, the Houston Astros, will host the Tigers this weekend. Verlander won’t be facing his former team, but he’s been spectacular in 2022, so much so that it’s brought speculation that the tall right-hander might add another trophy to his crowded mantel.

Rookie of the Year, MVP, Cy Young, Playoff MVP…and…Comeback Player?

Did you know that Justin Verlander is the most decorated pitcher in baseball history? He is, when you consider the sheer number of awards he’s won.

Verlander won the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 2006, when he became the fourth Tiger to win the honor, following Harvey Kuenn, Mark “The Bird” Fidrych, and Sweet Lou Whitaker.

In 2011, Verlander had a season for the ages: 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA. and 250 strikeouts. That year he not only helped lead Detroit playoffs, but he won the pitching triple crown. For his efforts, JV copped both the AL Cy Young Award and the Most Valuable Player Award.

Justin Verlander looked fantastic in the classic Detroit Tigers road jersey. He also won his share of awards in Motown.

At the 2017 trade deadline, the Tigers traded Verlander to the Houston Astros. The deal was a white flag, a clear signal that the franchise was going to enter a rebuilding phase. Sadly, the organization is still trying to get that rebuild figured out, but Verlander went on to high achievements elsewhere.

In the 2017 American League Championship Series against the Yankees, Verlander made two starts for Houston, winning both. He pitched 16 innings allowed just one earned run, while striking out 21 batters. Talk about DOMINANT.

For his efforts for the Astros in the 2017 ALCS, Verlander was named MVP of that series. Houston went on to win the World Series, and the New York Chapter of Baseball Writers gave Verlander the Babe Ruth Award, which is handed out to the best player of the postseason.

Thus, Verlander has won four major league awards: the Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, MVP, and LCS MVP. he’s the only pitcher to win those four, and he’s also the only player to get the Babe Ruth Award and the Rookie of the Year, LCS MVP, and MVP in his career.

That alone makes Verlander the most decorated pitcher in history. Add in the other “minor” awards (like Rookie Player of the Month, AL Player of the Month, and The Sporting News Player of the Year Award), and Verlander probably has a trophy case the size of most small apartments.

But now, after missing nearly two full seasons due to an arm injury and Tommy John Surgery, the veteran is back and aiming at another award, although it’s one players don’t really want to have to win.

Verlander is 3-1 with a 1.93 ERA in five stars for the Astros in 2022. His strikeout ratio in 32 2/3 innings is an amazing 31-to-4. The righty has surrendered only 19 hits thus far. He has the “Must-See JV” look of his Detroit days. As a result of his early season performance after missing all of 2021 and most of 2020, Verlander is a leading contender for the American League Comeback Player of the Year Award.

With three no-hitters in addition to all of his other accolades, Justin Verlander is assured of a place among the greats of the game as a Baseball Hall of Famer in Cooperstown one day. His recovery from arm injury and re-emergence as one of the game’s best pitchers, is another factor in why he’s such a legend.

My grama may not like that Verlander is pitching in Astro Orange instead of Tiger Orange, but she (and other baseball fans in Michigan) should be proud of what Justin is doing.

2 replies on “Verlander Could Add Another Piece of Hardware To His Collection

  • Michael Sykes

    Another great article, Dan! I, too, was saddened by the trade that sent Verlander to the Astros, but I was also happy to see him get that well deserved World Series win. I can only hope that he comes back to the Tigers for his final year and leads them to a championship. Hollywood would have to make a movie.

  • J.D. Danielewicz

    Kevin Costner has “KINDA” already made that movie (For Love Of The Game). Great flick, especially for us Tiger Fans. Heck, if we can’t get J.V. back, perhaps we can get Costner (aka Billy Chapel).

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