Legion Baseball alumni earn awards for 2022 MLB season

Legion Baseball alumni earn awards for 2022 MLB season

After a Major League Baseball season that culminated in former American Legion Baseball player Dusty Baker (Post 412/Fair Oaks, Calif.) managing his first World Series championship team, a handful of fellow ALB alumni received postseason honors.

Cy Young Award

Justin Verlander made just one start in 2020 and missed the entire 2021 season after Tommy John surgery.

Then the 39-year-old ace who played American Legion Baseball for Post 201 in Powhatan, Va., had a stellar comeback season to earn the American League Cy Young Award. It’s his third Cy Young after winning it with Detroit in 2011 and Houston in 2019.

This year, Verlander was 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA during the regular season for the World Series champion Astros. He led the American League in wins, ERA, WHIP (0.83), opponents’ OPS (.497), opponents’ batting average (.186) and hits per nine innings (5.97).

Overall, Houston was 20-8 in games Verlander started, and he was 9-0 in 12 starts after a loss for the Astros.

Manager of the Year

For the seventh straight season, the American League Manager of the Year is a former American Legion Baseball player.

Terry Francona, who played Legion Baseball in Pennsylvania, was named the 2022 AL Manager of the Year after guiding the Cleveland Guardians to a 92-70 record and the Central Division title.

It’s Francona’s third Manager of the Year award after winning it with Cleveland in 2013 and 2016.

“The best part about this is it gives me the opportunity to brag about the people I work with -- the coaches and the baseball ops guys and certainly our players,” Francona told MLB.com. “Everybody talks about culture and things like that. I really believe we live it out every day, and for that I’m really proud.”

In both 2020 and 2021, health issues sidelined Francona before the end of the season. But in Cleveland’s first season as the Guardians, the young roster quickly jelled under Francona and ended up winning the division by 11 games.

Dual honors for Realmuto

Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto (Post 170/Midwest City, Okla.) was honored with Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards after a standout season.

Realmuto won his third Silver Slugger Award after becoming just the second catcher with 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in a season, finishing with 22 homers and 21 steals. (Fellow ALB alum Ivan Rodriguez, who played for Post Vega Baja in Puerto Rico, was the first 20-20 catcher during his 1999 American League MVP season.)

Realmuto also had 26 doubles, 84 RBIs and 75 runs scored while batting .276 for the season.

He also earned his second Gold Glove Award after leading all qualified catchers with a 44 percent caught-stealing rate.

American Legion Baseball

American Legion Baseball

American Legion Baseball enjoys a reputation as one of the most successful and tradition-rich amateur athletic leagues. Today, the program registers more than 5,400 teams in all 50 states, including Canada and Puerto Rico.

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