DETROIT — Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera has won the 2012 King Tiger Award, an award given each year by the Mayo Smith Society. The award is the third in five years for Cabrera, having also earned the honor in 2008 and 2010. Voting for the award, which takes into account each player’s on-field accomplishments and off-field endeavors, was conducted by Mayo Smith Society members over a month-long period during the offseason.
Cabrera was named the American League Most Valuable Player in 2012, marking his first career Most Valuable Player honor. He became the first Tigers position player to win the award since Hank Greenberg did so in 1940 and just the fourth position player in franchise history to win the award, joining Greenberg, Charlie Gehringer and Mickey Cochrane.
Cabrera led the American League with a .330 batting average, 44 home runs and 139 RBI to become the first player to win the Triple Crown since Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. It marked the 14th time since 1900 a player has captured the Triple Crown and Cabrera is the 12th player to accomplish the feat during that time. He is just the second player in Tigers history to win the Triple Crown, joining Ty Cobb who did so in 1909.
The batting title marked the second consecutive season Cabrera has topped the American League in hitting, becoming the first Tigers player to win back-to-back batting titles since Ty Cobb did so in three consecutive seasons from 1917-19. In addition to leading the league in batting average, home runs and RBI, he also led the league with 377 total bases, 84 extra-base hits and a .606 slugging percentage, while he finished second with 109 runs scored and 205 hits, fourth with a .393 on-base percentage and seventh with 40 doubles.
Off the field, Cabrera actively participates in many of the club’s community initiatives, including Tigers Dreams Come True, the Detroit Tigers Autographed Memorabilia Donation Program and Autographs for a Cause. He also participated in a Baseball Fantasy Camp for Kids, provided the seed money to launch Play Baseball Detroit, hosted “Keeping Kids in the Game” to raise over $200,000 to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, the Miguel Cabrera Foundation and the Detroit Tigers Foundation and launched “Cabrera’s Chamitos.” Additionally, Cabrera was named the Tigers winner of the Roberto Clemente Award in 2012.
The Mayo Smith Society, founded in 1983 and named for the manager of the Tigers’ 1968 World Series championship club, is a nationwide organization of Tigers fans. Since 2004, the society has voted on King Tiger winners based on players’ on-field and off-field endeavors, picking up a tradition from 1964-80 when the presidents of individual Tigers’ fan clubs had voted for their own King Tiger awardees. Mayo Smith Society representatives plan to make the King Tiger presentation to Cabrera during the organization’s annual trip to Lakeland, Florida, for Spring Training.
Past King Tiger winners as voted on by the Mayo Smith Society:
2011: Justin Verlander
2010: Miguel Cabrera
2009: Justin Verlander
2008: Miguel Cabrera
2007: Magglio Ordonez
2006: Kenny Rogers
2005: Placido Polanco
2004: Carlos Guillen, Ivan Rodriguez (tie)