Justin Verlander had a season to remember, returning from a serious injury to win the World Series with the Houston Astros. To put the cherry on top, he was unanimously voted the American League Cy Young Award winner. This was the 39-year-old’s third Cy Young award and second that he has won unanimously.
Justin Verlander’s first AL Cy Young award came in 2011 when he was still playing for the Detroit Tigers. He won that year unanimously as the Tigers advanced to the ALCS, losing to the Texas Rangers. After making a move to the Houston Astros, he won his second AL Cy Young Award in 2019.
What makes this win legendary is the fact that he became the first ever pitcher to win the Cy Young Award after not pitching at all in the previous season. The man from Manakin-Sabot returned from a Tommy John surgery at 39-years and arguably had the best season of his career.
“I think [you] appreciate everything more at the back third or quarter of your career. Just everything that led up to this. When you’re young and things just go your way, you don’t understand what it takes to make things go your way. All of a sudden, things go in the opposite direction. That happened to me a couple times in my career, and it makes you appreciate things more, because you know how much hard work goes on to get to this point.” –Verlander told MLB
Justin Verlander: “I didn’t anticipate ending the season in a Cy Young.”
Justin Verlander’s comeback is truly one for the ages. His right arm was responsible for a season that was both statistically and scientifically significant. Astros’ ace pitcher returned ERA, WHIP (0.83), opponents’ OPS (.497), opponents’ batting average (.186) and hits per nine innings (5.97). Thus, it was fitting that the Baseball Writers’ Association of America awarded the man for his impressive effort.
“I will always kind of remember this Cy Young as looking back at the growth of me as a father, as a person and also the rehab and all the hard work that went into the rehab….“That level of pitching, when I’m healthy, has always been quite high. I didn’t anticipate ending it in a Cy Young. I don’t try to put those expectations on myself. I knew I had the opportunity to go out and have a wonderful season.” –Justin Verlander told MLB Network in an exclusive interview