Verlander wins AL MVP, 1st starter in 25 years

“I think this set a precedent,” Verlander said. “I’m happy that the voters acknowledged that, that we do have a major impact in this game and we can be extremely valuable to our team and its success.”

Verlander appeared on only 27 ballots and was omitted by Jim Ingraham of The Herald-News in Ohio, who voted Bautista first. Sheldon Ocker of the Akron Beacon Journal voted Verlander eighth.

Ingraham doesn’t think pitchers should be eligible.

“I’d wrestled with this for a long time. If I was ever going to vote for pitcher for MVP, it would be him this year,” Ingraham said. “He hasn’t appeared in 79 percent of their games, any starting pitcher really doesn’t appear in 79 percent of his team’s games in a year.

“Would you vote for an NFL quarterback for MVP if he only appeared in three of his team’s 16 games, which would be 21 percent? So that’s part of it. Another part of it is I think they’re apples and oranges. The guys that are in there every day, there’s a grind to a season that a starting pitcher doesn’t, I don’t think, experience the way the everyday position players do playing 150, 160 games.”

Other pitchers to win MVP and Cy Young in the same year are Newcombe (1956), Los Angeles’ Sandy Koufax (1963), St. Louis’ Bob Gibson and Detroit’s Denny McLain (1968), Oakland’s Vida Blue (1971), Milwaukee’s Rollie Fingers (1981) and Detroit’s Willie Hernandez (1984).

Since Mickey Cochrane (1934), Hank Greenberg (1935, 1940) and Charley Gehringer (1937), all Tigers voted MVP have been pitchers, with Verlander joining Hal Newhouser (1944 and 1945), McLain and Hernandez.

“He deserved it,” Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said. “He should have won it, but I didn’t know how voters would respond because the talk of some people not wanting to vote for a pitcher.”

NOTES: While Verlander earned a $500,000 bonus for winning the Cy Young, he didn’t have an MVP bonus provision. Tampa’s Evan Longoria receives $25,000 for finishing 10th. … The NL MVP winner will be announced Tuesday, with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp the favorite and Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder also receiving attention.

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