COLUMN: Tigers fans should be happy to see Verlander earn World Series ring


EvanSasielaMug

Justin Verlander has received numerous accolades since starting his Major League Baseball pitching career in 2005.

American League Most Valuable Player, American League Cy Young Award Winner, two no-hitter games — all with the Detroit Tigers.

But Verlander was missing something that would ease his entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame — a World Series ring.

He earned that ring Nov. 1, as a member of the Houston Astros. And Tigers fans should be happy for him.

Even on another team, he is always “must see JV.”

The Tigers were atrocious. The team lost 119 games, the worst in American League history.

In 2006, Verlander landed in the Tigers rotation as the No. 5 starter. En route to winning AL Rookie of the Year, the Tigers landed in the World Series for the first time since 1984.

It wasn’t long before Verlander would consistently be starting on Opening Days for Detroit as the Tigers’ ace. With a fastball in the upper-90s, he could crank it back and still shock the radar gun in the later innings of games.

Verlander has been named to the AL All-Star team six times. He won the Triple Crown in 2011 — leading the AL in wins, strikeouts and earned run average.

From 2005-17, Verlander was the face of the Tigers’ franchise. If you visited any game at Comerica Park after 2006, there were several people donning Verlander’s No. 35.

Which is why it was bittersweet when those jerseys went to the clearance rack after Verlander was traded to Houston at 11:59 p.m. Aug. 31 — the deadline for trades, so a player could compete on a postseason roster.

Verlander said it was the hardest decision of his life. If he agreed, he would leave behind the city and team where he catapulted his career. He would have to say goodbye to the children who grew up watching him, including me.

But Verlander is a competitor, which is why I and other fans love him. He wanted to win a World Series.

He did. He deserves it.

Verlander is a dominant pitcher on the mound and as good of a guy off it. He said he would donate his entire postseason bonus to charity.

After Houston won its first World Series in franchise history Wednesday, Verlander in his post-game interview thanked Detroit, and added the fans “will always have a special place in my heart.”

Verlander holds a special place in my heart. Going back to 2003, the Tigers were supposed to be terrible for a long time.

But for recent years, the Tigers were contending for a World Series — making the big stage in 2006 and 2012.

Verlander didn’t win those times around, but he never gave up. He’s a competitor, and he always makes sure he gives back and thanks those who helped him get to where he is.

Seeing him finally earn his long-coveted World Series ring was “must see JV.”

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About Evan Sasiela

Evan Sasiela is the University Editor at Central Michigan Life and a senior at Central Michigan ...

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