Justin Verlander Wins 2011 AL MVP Award

He was obviously dominant, and today he was recognized as the most valuable.

Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander became the first pitcher since Dennis Eckersley in 1992 to win the Most Valuable Player award for his league.  Verlander received 13 of a possible 28 first place votes to finish 38 points ahead of second-place finisher Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox.

Many had wondered if a pitcher was worthy of the award since he doesn't play everyday, but Verlander became the first starting pitcher to win the AL MVP since Roger Clemens won it in 1984 despite not being even named on one of the ballots.

Finishing behind Verlander and Ellsbury were Toronto's Jose Bautista, New York's Curtis Granderson, and Verlander's teammate in Detroit Miguel Cabrera, respectively.

Verlander is the seventh player in Tigers franchise history to win the AL MVP, joining fellow pitchers Hal Newhouser (1944, 1945), Denny McLain (1968), and Guillermo Hernandez (1984) along with postion players Hank Greenburg (1935, 1940), Mickey Cochrane (1934), and Charlie Gerhinger (1937).

Verlander won the Triple Crown of pitching in the American League with 24 wins, a 2.40 ERA, and 250 strikeouts this season.  He was the first pitcher to win the triple crown in the American League since 2006 (Johan Santana).  Verlander also topped the AL in innings pitched (251.0), and WHIP (0.920).