DETROIT — Thursday afternoon Major League Baseball announced that Victor Martinez was named baseball's top designated hitter, capping a career-year at the plate where he finished second to Angels' Mike Trout in the American League's Most Valuable Player voting.
Martinez was named the 2014 Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter of the Year, the first such award for the Tigers at that position in 36 years. Martinez is just the third Tiger to be named the top DH in baseball, the last being Rusty Staub in 1978. Before Staub, Willie Horton won the award in 1975.
The award is a career-first for Martinez, who received 75 of the 90 first-place votes. After having the best season in his 12 years in the majors, Martinez beat out seven-time winner, David Ortiz, for the top honors.
Martinez was easily the toughest out during the 2014 season, leading the league with one strikeout every 15.26 plate appearances. Martinez also led the majors with a .409 on-base percentage and 28 intentional walks, was second with a .335 batting average and a .565 slugging percentage, and he finished third with 57 multi-hit games.
During the season, Martinez's home run and strikeout totals interchanged leads on several occasions. While he didn't close out the season with more home runs than strikeouts, Martinez finished with just 42 strikeouts for the year, becoming the first player in Tigers history to hit 30-or-more home runs and strike out 45-or-fewer times.
He is also the first Major Leaguer to do so since Barry Bonds finished with 45 home runs and 41 strikeouts in 2004. Martinez also become the oldest player with at least 30 homers in a season since Edgar Martinez hit 37 home runs in 2000.
In addition, Martinez is the third-oldest player in MLB history to have his first 30-home run, 100-RBI season. Only Carlton Fisk (37 years, 272 days) and Edgar Martinez (37 years, 234 days) are older. The 35-year-old slugger was named the Tigers Player of the Month for March/April and August, and received an AL Player of the Month award for the first time in his career. Martinez was also named the 2014 Tiger of the Year.