Major league pitcher Justin Verlander was a force to reckon with on the mound for the Detroit Tigers, earning two career-strikeouts in ten years with the club, as well as the Cy Young Award and American League Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player Awards. Born February 20, 1983 in Manakin-Sabot, Virginia, Verlander showed tremendous pitching talent as early as his high school years, when his fastball was clocked at 86 miles per hour. He soon set school records with the Old Dominion University team, striking out 139 players in 2003, the same year he helped to propel the U.S. national team to a silver medal at the Pan American Games. By the time Verlander graduated from Old Dominion, he had two All-CAA honors, an earned run average of 2.57 and a strikeout average of 11.5 per nine inning, all of which boosted him to second overall pick in the 2004 Major League Draft. He signed with the Detroit Tigers in 2005 and was named Rookie of the Year on the strength of a 17-9 record with 124 strikeouts in 186 innings that helped to propel the club to the 2006 World Series. Verlander's stellar run continued the following year with 18 wins and 183 strikeouts, including a no-hitter against the Milwaukee Brewers; by 2011, he was the first major league pitcher to reach 20 wins before the end of August since Curt Schilling in 2002, had earned the American League Triple Crown of pitching and held the best career strikeouts/nine inning percentage (8.3) in the history of the Tigers franchise, including two no-hitters. Verlander closed the 2011 season with both the Cy Young Award and the American League (AL) MVP Award. After a less-than-stellar showing at the 2012 All-Star Game, during which he gave up five runs in a single inning, Verlander set records at the AL Division Series with 22 strikeouts, which led the Tigers to clinch the Championship Series soon after. However, he struggled during the 2012 World Series against the San Francisco Giants, giving up five earned runs in four innings, including two home runs to MVP Pablo Sandoval, and the Tigers were quickly eliminated during the 2013 Championship Series. The following year took a similar downward turn: after undergoing core muscle surgery, Verlander struggled for the majority of 2014, with the lowest strikeout averages per nine innings pitched of the previous five years. He began the 2015 season on the disabled list with a strained triceps, which prompted the Tigers to send him to their Triple-A team, the Toledo Mud Hens, for a rehabilitation assignment. Verlander spent a month with the Mud Hens before returning to active duty with the Tigers in June 2015, where he soon returned to form with his second career one-hitter game and a 5-8 record with significantly improved strikeout rates. In 2016, Verlander became the second pitcher in the history of the Tigers club to reach 2,000 career strikeouts. Minutes before the trade deadline of the 2017 season, the Tigers traded Verlander to the Houston Astros for three prospects. Verlander's pitching went on to send the Astros past the Red Sox and Yankees to face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series, which Houston won in Game 7, giving Verlander his first World Series ring. Just to complete his week, Verlander flew to Tuscany following the game to wed his longtime girlfriend, supermodel Kate Upton.