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Justin Verlander

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Justin Brooks Verlander (born February 20, 1983, in Manakin-Sabot, Virginia) is a Major League Baseball pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. He ended the 2005 season pitching for the Erie SeaWolves, the AA affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. He became the fifth starter in the Tigers rotation in 2006. Verlander, a 6'5", 200 pound (1.96 m, 91 kg) right-hander, pitched for the Old Dominion University baseball team for three years. In 2003, he set a school single season record by recording 139 strikeouts; in 2004, he broke his own record and established a new Colonial Athletic Association record with 151 strikeouts. In 2006, he was named the American League Rookie of the Year. On June 12, 2007 he pitched a no-hitter - the first ever at Comerica Park - against the Milwaukee Brewers, striking out 12 batters and walking four.[1]

Playing careerEdit

Amateur careerEdit

When Verlander was 13, his father Richard, who was president of the Richmond local of the Communications Workers of America told him to play baseball.[2] Richard gave up catching Justin's ball because of the velocity, and sent Justin to The Richmond Baseball Academy. Justin clocked 84 mph shortly after joining the academy. The velocity kept getting faster and it passed 93 when he entered Goochland High School. He had been a top pitching prospect in high school, but his career suffered a setback when he came down with strep throat early in his senior season of baseball. A weakened Verlander topped out at 86 during that season, causing professional scouts to lose interest.[2] After he recovered, his velocity reached 100 during his first year at Old Dominion.

Minor LeaguesEdit

Verlander's professional baseball career began when the Tigers selected him second overall in the 2004 Amateur Draft. After lengthy negotiations, which included Richard Verlander speaking directly to Tigers owner Mike Ilitch, he signed with the Tigers in October of that year. Verlander started the 2005 season in the Florida State League for the Lakeland Flying Tigers (then the Lakeland Tigers), where he showed both terrific stuff and surprisingly good control. He was rewarded with a brief appearance in the majors, making his first major league start on July 4, 2005. After one more start in the majors, he returned to the minor leagues—this time to the AA Eastern League, where he posted a 0.28 Earned Run Average over 7 starts. At the end of the season, he was named the "2005 Starting Pitcher of the Year" by Minor League Baseball.

Major LeaguesEdit

Verlander has drawn comparisons to former Tiger and Major Leaguer, Mark Fidrych. "The Bird," as he was called, pitched an excessive amount of innings (by today's standards) in his rookie season.

He features a high-90s fastball (which has been clocked on several occasions as exceeding 100 mph), a biting curveball, and a deceptive changeup. On July 3, 2006, at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland, California Justin Verlander, Joel Zumaya, and Fernando Rodney each threw multiple fastballs clocked in at over 100 mph, becoming the first time in MLB history that 3 pitchers, on the same team, had done so during 1 game. He allowed only one stolen base in 2006 and picked off 7 baserunners. In 2006, he became the first rookie pitcher in the history of the game to win 10 games before the end of June. As the fifth starter on an already strong pitching staff, his numbers have been in considerable excess to the average statistics of other rookie pitchers throughout history. He was named AL Rookie of the Year for the 2006 season. He was the first Detroit Tiger to win that award since Lou Whitaker won it in 1978.

No-Hitter Edit

File:JVerlanderNohitceleration2.jpg

Verlander pitched a no-hitter against the Milwaukee Brewers at Comerica Park on June 12, 2007. By retiring 27 batters without allowing a hit, Verlander became the sixth Tigers pitcher to throw a no-hitter.[3] Verlander also struck out 12 opposing batters, setting a new career high.[4]

The opposing pitcher in that game, Jeff Suppan of the Brewers, allowed just 1 run and 2 base runners through the first five innings. Both pitchers had no-hitters intact until the third inning.[5]Template:Deadlink Of the 30 batters Verlander faced, only three of them managed to hit the ball to the outfield. None of those three balls were hit to the left fielder. Three of the four walks issued were to Bill Hall and the first pitch to the final batter was clocked at 102 mph.[6]

Justin's brother Ben Verlander also threw a no-hitter at Justin's old High School. He was in the 9th grade and pitched against Amelia County High School. He pitched a complete game without giving up a hit in the 11-0 win over Amelia. Justin's no-hitter came only a short while after his brother Ben's.

Awards and AccoladesEdit

  • 2006 American League Rookie of the Year
  • American Rookie of the Month (May, 2006)
  • American League Player of the Week (May 22-28, 2006)
  • American League Player of the Week (June 11-17, 2007)
  • 7th in 2006 American League Cy Young Award Voting (the highest of any rookie pitcher)
  • 5th in 2007 American League Cy Young Award Voting
  • 15th in 2006 American League MVP Voting (the highest of any rookie and second highest of any pitcher - Johan Santana was 7th)
  • Named to 2007 American League All-Star Team
  • Became first Tigers pitcher since Denny McLain in 1968 (31-6, .838) to lead the American League in winning percentage and qualify for an ERA title (18-6, .750) in 2007.

Quotes About Verlander Edit

  • "He's a special talent. I think he's one of the premier pitchers in the league, not just young pitchers." - Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland[7]
  • "My God, that guy's throwing 100 miles an hour in the sixth inning, you're not going to mount much against him. It's really tough for the best hitters in baseball to put that in play consistently." - Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones[8]
  • "It was the best thing that ever happened to me." - Verlander on his no-hitter[9]

Personal lifeEdit

Verlander lives in Hadensville, Virginia during the offseason, which is located in the greater Richmond area.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

Template:S-end
Awards and achievements
Preceded by:
Huston Street
American League Rookie of the Year
2006
Succeeded by:
Dustin Pedroia
Preceded by:
Huston Street
Sporting News AL Rookie of the Year
2006
Succeeded by:
Dustin Pedroia
Preceded by:
Huston Street
Baseball America Rookie of the Year
2006
Succeeded by:
Ryan Braun
Preceded by:
Huston Street
Players Choice AL Most Outstanding Rookie
2006
Succeeded by:
Dustin Pedroia
Preceded by:
Francisco Liriano
American League Winning Percentage Champion
2007
Succeeded by:
Incumbent

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