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Justin Brooks Verlander (born February 20, 1983, in Manakin-Sabot, Virginia) is a Major League Baseball starting pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. In 2006, he was named the American League Award 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 4.[1]

Playing careerEdit

Amateur careerEdit

When Verlander was 13, his father Richard, who was president of the local Richmond chapter 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.

Verlander played on the Richmond Virginians AAU baseball team that placed fourth in the nation. The tournament was played in Chickasha, Oklahoma.

Verlander, a 6' 5", 200 pound (1.96 m, 91 kg) right-hander, pitched for the Old Dominion University baseball team for three years. On May 17, 2002, he struck out a then school record 17 batters against James Madison. 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. Verlander completed his career as the all-time strikeout leader in Old Dominion, the Colonial Athletic Association and the Commonwealth of Virginia (Division I) history with 427 in 335.2 innings. During his three years, he averaged 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings, and his career collegiate earned run average was 2.57.

Verlander pitched for Team USA in 2003 and helped the USA to a silver medal in the Pan Am Games. He was named CAA Rookie of the Year in 2002 and earned All-CAA honors in 2003 and 2004. Verlander was named the ODU Alumni Association's Male Athlete of the Year in 2004, and was the second overall pick in the 2004 Baseball draft by Detroit.

Minor leaguesEdit

His professional baseball career began when the Tigers selected him second overall in the 2004 MLB 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 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.Template:Citation needed

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.

Major leaguesEdit

2006Edit

In his first full season, Verlander went 17–9 with a 3.63 ERA, striking out 124 batters in 186 innings. He received the Rookie of the Year award. On July 4, 2006, at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland, California, Verlander, Joel Zumaya, and Fernando Rodney each threw multiple fastballs clocked in at over 100 mph, becoming the first time in MLB history that three pitchers, on the same team, had done so during a game.Template:Citation needed 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, which eventually led to him being named Rookie of the Year at the end of the 2006 season.Template:Citation needed.

2007Edit

His success continued in 2007, as he accumulated 18 wins and posted a 3.66 ERA with 183 strikeouts 201.2 innings. On June 12, Verlander recorded a no-hitter against the Milwaukee Brewers, striking out 12.
File:JVerlanderNohitceleration2.jpg

2008Edit

In 2008, he started off poorly with 4 straight losses before winning his first game. He could not match his 2007 success and finished with a career low 11 wins, while posting career highs in losses (17) and ERA (4.84).

2009Edit

His 2009 season proved successful. He finished with a 19–9 record with an ERA of 3.45 and an MLB-leading 269 strikeouts.[3] Verlander finished 3rd in the 2009 AL Cy Young Award voting.

2010Edit

On February 4, 2010, it was announced that Verlander and the Tigers have reached a deal for a $80 million, 5 year contract extension.[4] On July 3, Verlander earned his 10th win of the season. This marked the fourth time in five years he has had double digit wins before the all-star break.[5] On September 18 Verlander beat the Chicago White Sox, throwing a complete game to earn his 17th win of the season. With that win he became the first pitcher to win 17 games in 4 of his first 5 season since Dwight Gooden.[6]

RepertoireEdit

He features a high-90s fastball (which has been clocked on several occasions as exceeding 100 MPH), a curveball a changeup and during the 2009 season he added a slider to his repertoire.[7]

Awards and accoladesEdit

  • 2006 American League Rookie of the Year
  • 2006 Tigers Rookie of the Year award from the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association
  • 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, 2009 and 2010 American League All-Star Teams
  • 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.
  • American League Pitcher of the Month (May, 2009)
  • Became the first Major League starter in 24 years to load the bases with nobody out in the ninth inning or later and get out of it without allowing a run when he pulled off the feat July 24, 2009. Then-Mariners hurler Mike Moore was the last to do it, on Sept. 16, 1985.[8]
  • 2009 Tiger of the Year [9]
  • 3rd in 2009 American League Cy Young Award Voting
  • Only pitcher in baseball history to toss a no-hitter, start a World Series game, be a Rookie of the Year and an All-Star in his first two full seasons.[10]

Quotes about VerlanderEdit

  • "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[11]
  • "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[11]
  • "It was the best thing that ever happened to me." – Verlander on his no-hitter[12]

Personal lifeEdit

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

His brother Ben Verlander was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 2010 MLB Draft.

See alsoEdit

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ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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