10/20/11 3:28 PM ET
Cabrera unanimous winner of Aparicio Award
Tigers slugger named best Venezuelan player this season
By Jason Beck / MLB.com
Venezuelan and Spanish-speaking baseball writers vote each year on the award, presented to the most prominent baseball player in the regular season. Cabrera finished a close second to Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez last year and lost out to Mariners ace Felix Hernandez in 2009, but his first batting crown and the Tigers' rise to their first division title in 24 years left him with no major challengers this season.
While Cabrera received all 100 first-place votes, teammate Victor Martinez took second, barely edging out Cleveland shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera.
Cabrera became just the fourth Venezuelan-born player to win a big league batting title, using a torrid closing week to finish the year at .344 and beat out Texas' Michael Young and Boston's Adrian Gonzalez. Cabrera became the first Tiger to win a batting title since fellow Venezuelan Magglio Ordonez in 2007.
Cabrera also led the AL with 48 doubles, fueling a .586 slugging percentage that ranked second among AL hitters and second-best among his career numbers.
Nobody in the AL played in more regular-season games than Cabrera. The only game he missed was when he went to be with his wife for the birth of their third child.
Ordonez's batting title made him the last player to win the award by a unanimous vote, so it only made sense that Cabrera would do the same. In the process, Cabrera became the first position player to win the award twice, having done so with the Marlins in 2005. The Mets' Johan Santana is the only other two-time winner in the award's eight-year history.
Cabrera will return to Venezuela to receive the award in a ceremony Nov. 18 before a Venezuelan Winter League game in Maracaibo. That is the hometown of Aparicio, the only Venezuelan-born player in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The 10-time All-Star and nine-time Gold Glove winner set a defensive standard at shortstop for his generation while also leading the AL in stolen bases in each of his first nine seasons.