Ordonez named Tiger of the Year

Ordonez named Tiger of the Year

DETROIT -- This was one MVP-type award where Magglio Ordonez didn't have to worry about Alex Rodriguez.

The Detroit chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America made its Tiger of the Year selection official on Thursday, unanimously voting for Magglio Ordonez to take the honor following one of the best seasons as a Detroit player since at least Cecil Fielder 17 years ago, if not further back to Alan Trammell in the 1980s or the heyday of Al Kaline in the 1950s and 1960s.

Ordonez's .363 batting average on the season earned him the first batting crown for a Tiger since Norm Cash in 1961. His 54 doubles also led the Majors, while his 354 total bases and 139 RBIs ranked second only to A-Rod in the American League. His 1.029 OPS also ranked in baseball's top five.

In terms of Tigers history, no one since Charlie Gehringer 70 years ago finished with a higher batting average, and no Tiger had hit more doubles since George Kell knocked 56 in 1957. Only Hank Greenberg and Rocky Colavito have driven in more runs in a season wearing a Detroit uniform.

No Tigers outfielder since Chet Lemon in 1984 had been voted into the starting lineup at the All-Star Game until Ordonez trotted out into right field at San Francisco's AT&T Park last July. He also was selected as the American League's Player of the Month for August after hitting .393 for the month with 10 home runs, 31 RBIs and 24 runs scored.

If not for the feats accomplished by Rodriguez with the Yankees, Ordonez likely would've won the Hank Aaron Award for the best hitter in the American League and would probably be the favorite for AL Most Valuable Player, set to be announced next week.

The Tiger of the Year award has been given out at the end of each season since 1965, and has been given out to a different player each season since 1998. Ordonez's good friend, Carlos Guillen, won the award last year. Placido Polanco won it in 2005 after Ivan Rodriguez took the honor in 2004.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.