Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 4/17/13
There has not been an American League team that claimed the MVP Award in three consecutive seasons since those vaunted New York Yankees teams of the early 1960s. Outfielder Roger Maris won it in both 1960 and 1961. Then outfielder Mickey Mantle won it in 1962, and catcher Elston Howard picked up the hardware in 1963. However, the Tigers have a shot at winning the MVP Award for the third straight time, coming off pitcher Justin Verlander (2011) and third baseman Miguel Cabrera (2012) winning their awards. Eight teams in major league history have won three consecutive MVP awards, and seven of them won at least one World Series in that stretch. So, who might give the Tigers another MVP award, and possibly their first World Series win since 1984? The question was put to several Detroit players, and first baseman Prince Fielder and designated hitter Victor Martinez joined Cabrera and Verlander in the conversations. "It's fun to talk about who it could be," Avila said. "Justin won it; Miggy won it. But with our team, my money might be on Prince. And it's not putting any added pressure on Prince because I know he expects a lot of himself I'm just saying he's that caliber of player, he's that good." Fielder was ninth in AL MVP voting in his first year with the Tigers in 2012, but had finished third (2007), fourth (2009) and third (2011) in National League MVP races as a Milwaukee Brewer. He batted cleanup and was great protection last year for Cabrera, forcing pitchers to throw to the Triple Crown winner. Having a proven hitter like Martinez batting behind him this year is the reason many believe Fielder is a legitimate MVP candidate. You definitely have to look at the guys on our team who have already won the MVP, said center fielder Austin Jackson. But Prince is definitely capable of it, too. Its too difficult to just pick one of them. When asked about the confidence some teammates were showing in his MVP chances, Fielder smiled and flipped a ball hard into his glove. Yeah, Fielder said, thats nice. I definitely want to help our team, and whatever happens after that is a bonus. As of Wednesday afternoon, Fielder ranks either first or second in the AL with 19 RBIs, a .483 on-base percentage, a .745 slugging percentage and 10 walks. Hes in the Top 10 with a .383 batting average and four homers. Still, Cabrera seems to be the favorite. Hes batting .345 with two homers and 17 RBIs. If I had to pick one guy, said right fielder Torii Hunter, it would be the guy who won it last year. But it could be Prince, and dont forget about Victor Martinez. You are lucky to have three MVP candidates on one team. But what about Verlander, who is 2-1 with a 1.96 ERA? Verlanders great, Hunter said, But Im an old-school guy, and Im biased to a position player being the MVP. Hunter believes that pitchers have the Cy Young Award to compensate them. Miggy has to be right there for the MVP award again, said Tigers infielder Ramon Santiago. He did not get satisfied by the statistics and awards he won last year. But I see Prince being there, and Verlander has a good chance. Victor is coming back strong, and so dont forget him. Its tough to pick just one. But if I had to, you cant go wrong with Miggy. Martinez is off to a slow start, batting .200 with four RBIs, but had a three-hit game Tuesday that could signal his return to productivity. Dont rule out Hunter (AL-leading .414), who was added as a free agent with hopes of being the missing link to a Series crown. His five-tool and leadership abilities could put him into consideration if the Tigers have a great season and he does, too. And leadoff hitter Jackson (.393, AL-leading 19 runs) actually gives Detroit a sixth player who could get MVP votes. This is a truly loaded lineup. Cabrera hit a two-run homer and had four RBIs on Tuesday night in Seattle to illustrate why the Tigers are capable of having an MVP-like performance on a daily basis. Fielder cooled off after hitting .632 last week by going 0-for-5 with four strikeouts, but it didnt matter with Cabrera stroking. So, Detroit could have the leagues most epic lineup in 50 years -- since those 1961 and 1962 World Series champion Yankees of Maris, Mantle and Howard. The 2000-2004 San Francisco Giants, on which Barry Bonds won three consecutive NL MVPs after Jeff Kent won in 2000, are the only team to have three straight MVP awards and not win the Series. Others to have accomplished the feat are the 1938-39-40 Cincinnati Reds, 1941-42-43 Yankees, 1942-43-44 St. Louis Cardinals, 1954-55-56-57 Yankees and 1975-76-77 Reds. The 1928-31-32-33 Philadelphia As also qualify as an MVP-streak team that won it all on a technicality. There was no AL MVP awarded in 1929 and 1930 for financial reasons during the beginning of the Great Depression, and they won the 1930 World Series. Its pretty select company, and Detroit has a chance to become the ninth team in this season.
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