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Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Cardinals’ Albert Pujols and Astros’ Justin Verlander named MLB Comeback Players of the Year for 2022

Major League Baseball on Tuesday night announced the two winners of the Comeback Player of the Year award for 2022: Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League and Justin Verlander of the Houston Astros for the American League.

The award goes annually to the player in each league who enjoys success during the season in question despite being confronted with obstacles of some kind. In Verlander’s case, he missed the entire 2021 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Coming off the major procedure and at the age of 39, Verlander went 18-4 for the eventual World Series champs with an MLB-best ERA of 1.75 and a K/BB ratio of 6.38. Days prior to winning Comeback Player of the Year for 2022, Verlander won the AL Cy Young award for the third time in his career. He’s now one of the most coveted arms on the free agent market and will join the rare class of hurler who pitches into his 40s.

Other AL players receiving Comeback Player of the Year votes for 2022 include Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels, infielder/outfielder Matt Carpenter of the New York Yankees, and third baseman Alex Bregman of the Astros.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 23, 2022 at 12:04 PM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: albert pujols, justin verlander

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: November 23, 2022 at 12:39 PM (#6106611)
I'll go out on a limb and guess this is the greatest pair of comeback winners ever.
   2. Dolf Lucky Posted: November 23, 2022 at 12:49 PM (#6106615)
#1--almost certainly.

I remember a line from an old Pete Rose autobiography (written in the 1960s) where he said he wanted to win every MLB award except for Comeback Player of the Year. Good line, but Pete never really learned how much America loves a redemption story.
   3. Nasty Nate Posted: November 23, 2022 at 12:52 PM (#6106616)
I'll go out on a limb and guess this is the greatest pair of comeback winners ever.
Yes, but if the award existed in 1946 or after the Korean War there would have been some whoppers.
   4. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: November 23, 2022 at 01:45 PM (#6106628)
Wild that for an award of this nature, that's only been around 17 years, we have two two-time winners.

And while some great players have won it, this is the first time it's been two clear Hall of Famers. There have been a couple of other years with a HOFer and a HOVG.
   5. salvomania Posted: November 23, 2022 at 02:32 PM (#6106640)
that's only been around 17 years

The Sporting News has been giving out their version of the award since 1965, and if it was legit enough to be noted on the back of a player's baseball card, as it was for John Hiller's and others, then it's legit enough for me.

Several players have won TSN's version of the award twice:
Norm Cash (1965, 1971)
Boog Powell (1965, 1975)
Bret Saberhagen (1987, 1998)
Rick Sutcliffe (1987, 1992)
Andres Galarraga (1993, 2000)
Chris Carpenter (2004, 2009)
Buster Posey (2012, 2021)
   6. The Duke Posted: November 23, 2022 at 03:02 PM (#6106647)
2. He can still win it if he makes the Hall!
   7. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: November 23, 2022 at 03:10 PM (#6106648)
The Sporting News has been giving out their version of the award since 1965, and if it was legit enough to be noted on the back of a player's baseball card, as it was for John Hiller's and others, then it's legit enough for me.


This is what happens when I care enough to Google "mlb comeback player of the year winners" and click on one link, but not enough to click on any others.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: November 23, 2022 at 09:37 PM (#6106669)
Surely that first one for Boog was 1966 not 1965. And based on Cash and Boog, it seems the SI award is more "had an off year last year, returned to form this year." Cash had 560 PA of perfectly solid production in 1964 then ... well did much the same in 1965 but with more HR (and a 148 OPS+ not that anybody knew that at the time). In 1970 he did miss a month but was good when he played; in 1971 he got that month back and hit 30 HR again.

Similarly Boog smashed it in 64 but dropped from 39 to 17 HR in 65 (still solid production and PT) then bounced back to 34 HR (and 158 OPS+) in 66. In 73-74 he was looking toasty with just 23 HR in 866 PA but in 75 bounced back to 27 HR and a 154 OPS+.

Anyway, neither was hurt or even in real danger of losing their job prior to the season, they just had sub-par seasons. Seems more like giving Altuve the award because he only put up a 127 OPS+ last year.
   9. SoSH U at work Posted: November 23, 2022 at 09:43 PM (#6106670)
The Sporting News has been giving out their version of the award since 1965, and if it was legit enough to be noted on the back of a player's baseball card, as it was for John Hiller's and others, then it's legit enough for me.

Several players have won TSN's version of the award twice:
Norm Cash (1965, 1971)
Boog Powell (1965, 1975)
Bret Saberhagen (1987, 1998)
Rick Sutcliffe (1987, 1992)
Andres Galarraga (1993, 2000)
Chris Carpenter (2004, 2009)
Buster Posey (2012, 2021)


Sure, but none of them ever managed to match PGA Golfer Steve Stricker's accomplishment of winning the award in back-to-back years.

   10. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 24, 2022 at 06:37 AM (#6106683)
Did Pujols win unanimously? I would have thought Jeff McNeill might have gotten a few votes in the NL, but there was no mention of others like there was for the AL.
   11. Cooper Teenoh Posted: November 25, 2022 at 03:58 PM (#6106759)
I think this means Albert Pujols won every official award for position players which is based on the regular season, with the exception of making the All-MLB Team, which only began in 2019:
Rookie of the Year
MVP
Silver Slugger
Gold Glove
Roberto Clemente Award
Lou Gehrig Award
Hank Aaron Award
MLB Player of the Year
Comeback Player of the Year

Is there a regular season award I’m forgetting? Can anyone think of any other player who have pulled this off?
   12. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 25, 2022 at 05:01 PM (#6106765)
To answer my own question from #10, Pujols was not unanimous but McNeil did not get any votes (this paragraph must have been blocked by an ad when I first read the story).

Other players who received votes for NL Comeback Player of the Year included Ronald Acuña Jr. of the Atlanta Braves, Mark Appel and David Robertson of the Philadelphia Phillies, Brandon Drury and Nick Martinez of the San Diego Padres, and Ryan Helsley of the Cardinals.


   13. Booey Posted: November 25, 2022 at 05:15 PM (#6106766)
#11 - I can't find anyone else who won all of those awards. The closest I could find was Ripken, who won all of them except the Comeback Player of the Year award, and the Hank Aaron award, which didn't debut until the very end of his career (1999), and he very likely would have won it in 1991 had it existed.

Buster Posey won all of those awards except for the Roberto Clemente award and the MLB Player of the Year award.

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