NORFOLK, VA—ODU pitching great Justin Verlander (’04) of the Detroit Tigers has been chosen for the All-Star Game in July 16th in Citi Field in New York. It will be Verlander’s fifth straight selection and sixth overall.
"First of all, I think he's one of the great pitchers in baseball. I think that's obvious," Leyland said. "I think you take a little bit of history into consideration. I think you also take into consideration that he's won nine games, he's got a lot of strikeouts, and I think that he's one of the faces of baseball, and I think he deserves to go. I think when you put all those combinations together, I think it's a no-brainer."
In many ways, it's a symbolic gesture. Unless the Tigers' rotation order changes, Verlander won't pitch in this year's game. He's currently on schedule to start the Tigers' final game before the break, and Leyland won't use any pitcher in the All-Star Game who started on Sunday. Verlander will make the trip and take part in the All-Star festivities, but will likely be replaced on the roster.
"Making it and going, the experience, is what I cherish when I'm there," Verlander said. "Obviously I would like to pitch, but just being a part of those festivities is important. If I'm not pitching, I can really take part in the festivities."
Verlander, who was inducted into the ODU Sports Hall of Fame in 2012 is currently 9-5 with a 3.54 earned run average which is currently 12th in the American League. He has 119 strikeouts in 112 innings of work.
At ODU, the 6-5 Verlander set a school single-season record by recording 139 strikeouts. In 2004, he broke his own record and established a new CAA record with 151 strikeouts. Verlander completed his career as the all-time strikeout leader in Old Dominion, the CAA and the Commonwealth of Virginia (Division I) history with 427 in 335⅔ innings. During his three years, he averaged 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings, and his career collegiate ERA was 2.57.
Verlander pitched for Team USA in 2003 and helped them to a silver medal in the Pan American. He was named CAA Rookie of the Year in 2002 and earned All-CAA and ABCA All-Region 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 Major League draft by Detroit.
Besides six MLB All-Star selections, Verlander was the 2006 American League Rookie of the Year, the 2011 American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner and three-time (2009, 2011 and 2012) American League strikeout champion. He pitched no hitters in 2007 (Milwaukee) and in 2011 (Toronto).