You know it’s hard out there for a pitch … (11/22/11)

Justin Verlander… When he tryin’ to get his money for the rent.

And he’s tryin’ to win over critics who say pitchers shouldn’t be eligible for the MVP award. Justin Verlander became the first pitcher since Dennis Eckerlsley in 1992, and the first starting pitcher since Roger Clemens in 1986, to win the MVP for his respective league.

Only 24 pitchers have won the award, with only eight of them — including Verlander — being handed out after 1960. Since 1960, five of them have been given to starting pitchers and only one of them has been given to a National League pitcher — Bob Gibson in 1968. Oddly enough, Denny McLain also won the MVP award for the American League that year as well.

Of the last eight pitchers who have won the MVP award, three of them played for the Detroit Tigers and three of them played for the Oakland Athletics. Relief pitcher Rollie Fingers had the lowest ERA — a 1.04 in 1981 — of all the MVP-winning pitchers and Denny McLain has the record for wins — 31 in 1968 — by an MVP-winning pitcher.

Justin Verlander has the least amount of innings pitched during the award-winning season of all starting pitchers who have won the MVP with 251 in 2011. Clemens pitched 254 in 1986, Vida Blue pitched 312-innings, Gibson threw 304-innings, and McLain pitched 336.

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