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NEW YORK (AP) — Justin Verlander figured time had run out on his chance to become the first starting pitcher in a quarter-century to be voted Most Valuable Player.
Last Tuesday, he found out about 12:40 p.m. that he was a unanimous winner of the AL Cy Young Award.
It was closing in on 1 p.m. Monday, and he still hadn’t gotten word on the MVP.
“I had told myself that it wasn’t going to happen,” he said. “I figured somebody else got the call.”
Not to worry, there was just a slight delay because Verlander didn’t give the Baseball Writers’ Association of America his telephone number, forcing the BBWAA to relay the news through Brian Britten, the Detroit Tigers’ director of media relations.
Britten telephoned Verlander at 12:56 p.m., about one hour before the announcement.
“It was just a weight off my shoulders,” Verlander said, “and pure elation, really.”
After winning the AL’s pitching triple crown by going 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts, Verlander received 13 of 28 first-place votes and 280 points. He became the first pitcher voted MVP since Oakland’s Dennis Eckersley in 1992 and the first starting pitcher since Boston’s Roger Clemens in 1986.
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