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Detroit's Cabrera named AL MVP

(MCT) DETROIT — Old school common sense won out over new school sabermetrics.

Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers won the American League's Most Valuable Player Award over Mike Trout of the Los Angles Angels in voting by 28 members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. The announcement was televised live on the MLB Network on Thursday night.

"Wow. Wow. I don't believe it," Cabrera said. "I'm very excited. I'm like, I don't have any words to explain like how excited I'm right now. I never expected I'd end up winning because Mike Trout, he (had an) unbelievable season," Cabrera said. "Man, I've very surprised."

Cabrera beat Trout, 362-281, in a weighted voting system. Cabrera received 22 of the 28 first-place votes, to Trout's six first-place votes (Cabrera was second on each of those ballots). Players received 14 points for first place, nine for second, eight for third and on down to one for 10th.

Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander finished eighth in the voting, receiving two fourth-place votes, and first baseman Prince Fielder finished ninth, receiving one fifth-place vote and five sixth-place votes.

"(I want to) share with all the fans in Detroit, all the fans in Venezuela," Cabrera said. "It's going to be exciting for my country Venezuela and my family and I'm very happy for getting this MVP."

Added Tigers manager Jim Leyland: "I think when you do something that hasn't been done in 40-some years, with everything (Cabrera) did down the stretch when we needed him the most. I was a little nervous about it, but to be honest with you, I just felt like if this guy doesn't get the MVP, then there should be no such thing as an MVP."

Even though Cabrera won, the Cabrera-Trout debate likely will rage on for years.

After all, many in Detroit still believe Alan Trammell was robbed of the 1987 award by George Bell of the Blue Jays.

The debate between Cabrera and Trout took on a life of its own.

"I'm not sure the debate is over, but we know that the election is over and frankly it was not as close as people anticipated," said BBWAA secretary/treasurer Jack O'Connell. "Don't be surprised if they declare a national holiday in Venezuela tomorrow. He is the first person from that country to win an MVP award."

Cabrera became the first player to win the Triple Crown in 45 years, leading the league in home runs (44), RBI (139) and batting average (.330), among other categories. He also performed better than Trout the final months of the season and late in games.

Unlike Trout, Cabrera helped his team reach the playoffs (and ultimately the World Series, although votes were cast before the postseason).

Cabrera, a third baseman, already had beaten Trout, a centerfielder, in a vote of their peers, recently winning player of the year in the Players Choice Awards.

"Winning the division, winning games, I think, helped me to win the Triple Crown," Cabrera said. "Baseball is about winning, not personal numbers. I think this MVP is about all my teammates . . . I got a lot of support. I got great teammates. We got a great family."

Trout was trumpeted by a new breed of baseball-loving statisticians who tried to find value in number analysis.

Given his speed and defense, Trout was viewed as the better all-around player. His supporters tossed out proof in new statistics such as Wins Above Replacement and Defensive Runs Saved. Trout already had been unanimously voted the AL rookie of the year.

Cabrera had edged Trout by a 4-3 vote of MLB Network analysts who debated the AL MVP race on Wednesday. Peter Gammons, Brian Kenny and Ken Rosenthal gave the nod to Trout, while Tom Verducci, Harold Reynolds, Larry Bowa and Billy Ripken chose Cabrera.


(c)2012 Detroit Free Press

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