The fall of 2020 was not a particularly good time for Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander.
In September, it was announced he would need ligament replacement surgery in his right elbow: the dreaded Tommy John.
That is a game-changer for a pitcher: they need to be on the shelf for 12-16 months.
That usually has an incredibly large emotional impact on hurlers.
They won’t be able to do what they love for more than a year.
Verlander accepted his fate, got the surgery, completed the rest and rehab process, and slowly worked his way back.
Playing catch, long toss, bullpens, live batting practices, and rehab games.
It took him most of 2020 and all of 2021 to come back stronger than ever in 2022.
This year represented redemption for him.
Not only is he shown lifting the World Series trophy before a grateful crowd in Houston, but he also earned his third Cy Young ward, got his first Fall Classic win, and proved the world that a 39-year-old pitcher can return from major surgery with hard work and determination.
Unanimous CY Young winner & World Series Champion. pic.twitter.com/V9U0A1qyQc
— Houston Astros (@astros) November 17, 2022
A Career-Best Season At Age 39
At his age, Verlander pitched 175 quality innings in which he posted a 1.75 ERA, the best mark of his illustrious career.
He also had a 0.83 WHIP and won 18 games.
Not surprisingly, voters gave him the Cy Young Award unanimously on Wednesday night, and how could they not?
The 2021 Astros were probably an ace short of winning the World Series, and lost.
The 2022 Astros had their ace back from day one, and he really made a difference.
Verlander is now a free agent and is said to be looking for a multi-year contract.
Teams are probably lining up just to talk to his agent, as they should.