That followed their first player voted into the starting lineup at an All-Star Game since 2007. It seemed likely they were going to get some recognition during the awards season.
A trio of Tigers have taken team honors, with ace Justin Verlander earning Pitcher of the Year, Miguel Cabrera the Player of the Year and Alex Avila earning Breakout Player of the Year honors. As selected by MLB.com, awards have been designated in the three categories for each of the 30 teams.
Verlander also became the first pitcher in nearly 20 years to earn a Most Valuable Player Award, earning that honor in voting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. He also claimed the AL's Cy Young Award, making him only the second player in baseball history to win an MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year Award in his career.
"Not even in my wildest dreams had I thought of this," Verlander said. "I want to say this is a dream come true. I can't say that, because my dream had already come true -- to win the Cy Young. The next dream is to win a World Series. This wasn't even on my radar."
Verlander also became just the second pitcher to capture Player of the Year honors as part of the MLB Players Association's annual Players Choice Awards, a recognition by his peers of just how much of an impact he had on the Tigers and their fortunes. He paired that up with AL Pitcher of the Year honors as well, pulling off the same twin killing he had with the Sporting News' annual awards -- also decided by player balloting -- in October.
"Coming from your peers makes it all the more special," Verlander said. "I think with all the talk about, 'Should a pitcher be able to win MVP or a top player award?' -- I think it shows a lot of support for my fellow players to be able to vote me for that. I think it means a lot. When it comes from your peers, the guys you're playing with, the guys you're playing against, it's special."
Verlander topped all AL pitchers with 24 wins, a 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts, becoming the first AL hurler to do that since Johan Santana in 2006, and the first Tigers pitcher since Hal Newhouser in 1945. No AL pitcher had won that many games in a season since Bob Welch notched 27 victories for the 1990 powerhouse Oakland Athletics. No Major League pitcher had posted that combination of strong Triple Crown stats in the same season since Randy Johnson in 2002, and no AL pitcher since Vida Blue in 1971.
Verlander also led AL pitchers with 251 innings, a .192 opponents' batting average and a 0.92 WHIP ratio.
The Tigers were 25-9 in games Verlander started, including five wins when scoring three runs or fewer. They were 70-58 in games started by everyone else, and won 14 of those games scoring fewer than three runs.
Verlander might have won Player of the Year honors from MLB.com in its first team awards, but the rules delineate pitchers from hitters. Instead, that went to Cabrera, whose MVP-caliber season unfolded rather quietly before a late charge gave him a .344 average, 30 home runs, 105 RBIs and 1.033 OPS. He was again the heart of the Tigers' offense, as he has been since his arrival in 2008.
Cabrera finished fifth in MVP voting.
While Verlander was the obvious choice to capture the club's Pitcher of the Year honors, his battery mate, All-Star catcher Avila, took the Tigers' Breakout Player of the Year honors -- a testament to the production he assembled in his first season as an everyday player.
Avila was the best young catcher in the AL, as evidenced by his spot on The Sporting News AL All-Star team in October, as voted on by players.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland finished second to Rays skipper Joe Maddon in balloting for the AL Manager of the Year.
|MVP||Cy Young||Rookie of the Year|
|Mickey Cochrane||1934||Denny McLain||1968||Harvey Kuenn||1953|
|Hank Greenberg||1935||Denny McLain||1969||Mark Fidrych||1976|
|Charlie Gehringer||1937||Willie Hernandez||1984||Lou Whitaker||1978|
|Hank Greenberg||1940||Justin Verlander||2006|
|Triple Crown||Manager of the Year||Relief Man|
|Ty Cobb||1909||Sparky Anderson||1984||Todd Jones||2000|
|Hal Newhouser||1945||Sparky Anderson||1987|
|ALCS MVP||World Series MVP||Roberto Clemente Award|
|Kirk Gibson||1984||Mickey Lolich||1968||Al Kaline||1973|
|Rawlings Gold Glove||Silver Slugger||Hutch Award|
|Al Kaline, OF||1957||Lance Parrish, C||1980||Al Kaline||1969|
|Al Kaline, OF||1958||Lance Parrish, C||1982||John Hiller||1973|
|Frank Boling, 2B||1958||Lou Whitaker, 2B||1982|
|Al Kaline, OF||1959||Lance Parrish, C||1983|
|Al Kaline, OF||1961||Lou Whitaker, 2B||1983|
|Frank Lary, P||1961||Lance Parrish, C||1984|
|Al Kaline, OF||1962||Lou Whitaker, 2B||1984|
|Al Kaline, OF||1963||Lou Whitaker, 2B||1985|
|Al Kaline, OF||1964||Lance Parrish, C||1986|
|Al Kaline, OF||1965||Lou Whitaker, 2B||1987|
|Bill Freehan, C||1965||Matt Nokes, C||1987|
|Al Kaline, OF||1966||Alan Trammell, SS||1987|
|Bill Freehan, C||1966||Alan Trammell, SS||1988|
|Al Kaline, OF||1967||Alan Trammell, SS||1990|
|Bill Freehan, C||1967||Cecil Fielder, 1B||1990|
|Bill Freehan, C||1968||Cecil Fielder, 1B||1991|
|Mickey Stanley, OF||1968||Mickey Tettleton, C||1991|
|Bill Freehan, C||1969||Mickey Tettleton, C||1992|
|Mickey Stanley, OF||1969||Travis Fryman, SS||1992|
|Mickey Stanley, OF||1970||Damion Easley, 2B||1998|
|Ed Brinkman, SS||1972||Dean Palmer, 3B||1999|
|Mickey Stanley, OF||1973||Ivan Rodriguez, C||2004|
|Aurelio Rodriguez, 3B||1976||Placido Polanco, 2B||2007|
|Alan Trammell, SS||1980||Magglio Ordonez, OF||2007|
|Alan Trammell, SS||1981|
|Lou Whitaker, 2B||1982|
|Lance Parrish, C||1983|
|Alan Trammell, SS||1983|
|Alan Trammell, SS||1984|
|Lou Whitaker, 2B||1984|
|Lance Parrish, C||1984|
|Lance Parrish, C||1985|
|Gary Pettis, OF||1988|
|Gary Pettis, OF||1989|
|Ivan Rodriguez, C||2004|
|Ivan Rodriguez, C||2006|
|Placido Polanco, 2B||2007|
|Placido Polanco, 2B||2009|
|Tiger of the Year|
|Selected by Detroit BBWAA chapter|
|Tony Clark, Bobby Higginson||1997|