The Tigers wouldn’t have reached the playoffs without Miguel Cabrera

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The Tigers wouldn’t have reached the playoffs without Justin Verlander
The Tigers wouldn’t have reached the playoffs without Austin Jackson
The Tigers wouldn’t have reached the playoffs without Prince Fielder
The Tigers wouldn’t have reached the playoffs without Max Scherzer
The Tigers wouldn’t have reached the playoffs without Doug Fister
The Tigers wouldn’t have reached the playoffs had they played in the AL East
The Tigers wouldn’t have reached the playoffs had they played in the AL West
The Tigers wouldn’t have reached the playoffs had MLB tossed the divisions and used a balanced schedule
The Tigers wouldn’t have reached the playoffs had Jerry Reinsdorf spent like Mike Illitch
The Tigers wouldn’t have reached the playoffs had John Danks not had a lost year
The Tigers wouldn’t have reached the playoffs had the White Sox traded for Anibal Sanchez instead of Francisco Liriano

Miguel Cabrera was the biggest reason for the Tigers’ modest regular-season success.  But the simple fact that his team made the playoffs and Mike Trout’s didn’t is a ridiculous justification for giving him the MVP award. The Yankees wouldn’t have made the playoffs without Robinson Cano. The Rangers wouldn’t have made the playoffs without Adrian Beltre. The Orioles wouldn’t have made the playoffs without Matt Wieters and Adam Jones and probably a handful of others. And I’m pretty sure Cabrera would be the first to say that several of his teammates were invaluable to the Tigers’ cause.

None of that means Cabrera shouldn’t be MVP. But the award is meant to go to the most valuable player in the league, not the best player on a team that just happened to squeak into the playoffs.

Sandy Koufax to be honored with statue at Dodger Stadium

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.

Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.

Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.

Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign  on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.