Detroit Tigers: 3 instances Detroit players almost won Cy Young or MVP
As the 2020 AL Cy Young award winner is about to be announced, we look back at the Detroit Tigers who came runner up.
Throughout the team’s history, the Detroit Tigers have had some aces who were worthy enough to win the Cy Young award. Denny McLain would the first Tigers pitcher to win the award back to back in 1968 and again in 1969.
For MVPs, Miguel Cabrera because the first MVP that was not a pitcher since Hank Greenberg in 1940 and the only positional player to win the award for Detroit back to back. His Triple Crown season of 2012 ranks up as one of the best seasons in Tigers history.
McLain put together two of the best seasons for a Tigers starter. In ’68, he went 31-6 with an ERA of 1.96 in 41 games started. So strange to think these days of pitching 336 innings in one season but that’s what he did for his first Cy Young. For his second season, he went 24-9 and finished tied with Cuban lefty Mike Cuellar for the Cy Young award.
Willie Hernandez would be the first lefty and reliever to win the award for the Tigers in 1984 with his screwball and a sparking ERA of 1.92 and like McLain in 1968, would also win MVP.
It wouldn’t be until 2011 when the Tigers would have another Cy Young award with Justin Verlander and then in 2013, Max Scherzer. With the staff the Tigers had in the early 2010s, you would have expected a few more to come out of there. And they did, for other teams but that’s not the purpose of this article.
Who may win an award like the Cy Young or MVP next for the Detroit Tigers? If Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal continue to develop their game, they could be next or Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene. For now, let’s look at three players who came close to winning either MVP or Cy Young but just fell short.