Trio wins Negro Leagues Legacy Awards

Trio wins Negro Leagues Legacy Awards

Trio wins Negro Leagues Legacy Awards
Tigers All-Stars Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Jose Valverde each added to their awards count last week, when the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum announced its annual Legacy Awards.

Verlander, who won the American League Cy Young and AL MVP Awards earlier this month, was recognized with the Bullet Rogan Award as the AL's pitcher of the year. Verlander won the AL pitching Triple Crown this year with 24 wins, a 2.40 ERA and 251 strikeouts for a Tigers team that captured its first division title since 1987.

Verlander did not win the AL's Oscar Charleston Award, the equivalent of league MVP. That honor went to former Tigers center fielder Curtis Granderson, who finished fourth in AL MVP balloting among baseball writers but whose league-best 119 RBIs along with 41 home runs made him a strong candidate among position players.

Cabrera won the Buck Leonard Award, which goes annually to each league's batting champion. Cabrera led the Majors and won his first batting crown with a final-week surge that pushed his final batting average to .344, six points better than Boston's Adrian Gonzalez and Texas' Michael Young.

Jose Valverde, the Tigers' closer, was recognized with the Hilton Smith Award as the AL's reliever of the year. Not only did his 49 saves lead the Majors, he did so without blowing a save all season, the longest single-season streak of save chances converted since Eric Gagne converted 55 in a row in 2003 on his way to 84 consecutive saves. Valverde earned Rolaids Relief Man of the Year honors last month.

In addition, Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski was honored with the Andrew "Rube" Foster Award for American League executive of the year. It's his second award of the offseason, following on the heels of his honor as Sporting News Executive of the Year at baseball's General Managers Meetings earlier this month.

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum established the Legacy Awards in 2000 to honor baseball's best with awards given in name and spirit of Negro Leagues legends such as Charleston, Rogan, Smith, Leonard, Josh Gibson and Buck O'Neil. The awards are scheduled to be presented in Kansas City on Saturday, Jan. 28.

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.