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Former Old Dominion University pitching standout Justin Verlander '04 was already considered the best rookie in the American League according to two separate polls of players. On Monday, Verlander was named American League Rookie of the Year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Verlander is the first starting pitcher to win AL Rookie of the Year since New York's Dave Righetti in 1981.

While at ODU, Verlander earned All-CAA honors and was the University's Alumni Association's Male Athlete of the Year. He is ODU's, the CAA's and Virginia's all-time strikeout leader with 427 in 335.2 innings of work for an 11.5 career strikeout average, and a finalist for the Roger Clemons award.

The 23-year-old right-hander again won out in what was expected to be a tight contest among AL rookie pitchers, including Twins phenom Francisco Liriano and Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon. Of that group, Verlander is the only one to last the entire season without missing significant time due to injury or fatigue.

Verlander received 26 first-place votes and 133 total points, easily outdistancing Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon, who tallied 63 points and no first-place votes.

This article was posted on: November 13, 2006

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