Leland Stein III

Miguel Cabrera Wins AL MVP

In sports column on November 18, 2012 at 3:21 am

Cabrera Wins AL MVP

By Leland Stein III

MIGUEL CABRERA, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and former homerun king Hank Aaron. – Dan Graschuck photo

The awards just keep piling up for Detroit Tiger Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera.

He’s been named Sporting News player of the year, walked away as the Hank Aaron Award winner, given to the league’s best offensive performer, and, now he is officially the America League MVP.

The slugging Tigers third baseman, the first player to win baseball’s Triple Crown since 1967, became the second consecutive Tigers’ player to hoist the MVP trophy.

Tigers’ pitcher Justin Verlander won the AL MVP in 2011, and no sooner had this year’s results been announced than Verlander congratulated Cabrera by tweeting, “Best player in baseball … THE MVP.”

Cabrera said he was “a little concerned” it would be close, but with many points to spare, he became the first position player on the Tigers to be MVP since Hank Greenberg in 1940.

Leland Stein III

Tigers Pitchers have won five MVPs since Greenberg’s: Hal Newhouser in 1944 and 1945, Denny McLain in 1968, Guillermo Hernandez in 1984 and Verlander last year.

The 28 members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America made the final picks and their results were announced live on the MLB Network. Cabrera overcame Mike Trout of the Los Angles Angels in the voting.

Cabrera beat Trout, 362-281, in a weighted voting system. Cabrera received 22 of the 28 first-place votes, to Trout’s six first-place votes (Cabrera was second on each of those ballots). Tigers Verlander finished 8th in the voting and first baseman Prince Fielder finished 9th.

“Wow. Wow. I don’t believe it,” Cabrera said. “I’m very excited. I’m like, I don’t have any words to explain like how excited I’m right now. I never expected I’d end up winning because Mike Trout, he (had an) unbelievable season. Man, I’ve very surprised.”

“(I want to) share with all the fans in Detroit, all the fans in Venezuela,” Cabrera said. “It’s going to be exciting for my country Venezuela and my family and I’m very happy for getting this MVP. I’m sure they are going crazy in my country right now.”

Cabrera is the first player from Venezuela to win the MVP award.

Said Tigers manager Jim Leyland: “I think when you do something that hasn’t been done in 40-some years, with everything (Cabrera) did down the stretch when we needed him the most. I was a little nervous about it, but to be honest with you, I just felt like if this guy doesn’t get the MVP, then there should be no such thing as an MVP.”

Prior to the release of the MVP, baseball writers and analyst had predicted the Trout should win the award. He led the AL in runs scored with 129, and stolen bases with 49. Plus, it was noted his defense was exceptional in his rookie campaign, too.

No matter, Cabrera, who finished the season with a .330 batting average, 44 homers and 139 RBIs en route to winning the majors’ first Triple Crown since 1967, did enough to win the voters. Add in his .606 slugging percentage and .999 OPS also led the majors, the MVP ended up being a slam dunk for this Tiger slugger.

After Cabrera had officially won the Triple Crown, MLB Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig said: “It is an honor to congratulate Miguel Cabrera on earning the Triple Crown, a remarkable achievement that places him amongst an elite few in all of Baseball history. Miguel has long been one of the most accomplished hitters in the game, and this recognition is one that he will be able to cherish for the rest of his career.

Said MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds: “I just think the Triple Crown and getting a team into the playoffs really made a big difference for Miguel Cabrera. I believe, at the end of the day, the Triple Crown and getting into the playoffs was the difference-maker.”

Leland Stein can be reached at lelstein3@aol.com or Twitter @LelandSteinIII

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