October 23rd, 2010
Brandon Inge, fresh off his two-year contract extension signed Thursday, has a chance to become the second consecutive Tiger to win the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award. The MLB Players Association named Inge as one of the three finalists for the honor, which is awarded to the player whose contributions on and off the field inspire others to achieve.
The award is part of the MLB Players Choice awards, which gives out end-of-season honors as voted on by big-league players. The Tigers are well-represented among the various lists of finalists, from Miguel Cabrera for American League Outstanding Player to Austin Jackson for AL Outstanding Rookie. Winners will be announced next week.
While Inge doesn’t attract attention with a lot of his charitable efforts around Metro Airport, he’s in a unique position to earn some recognition as Man of the Year. His work with Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor has long been known to Michiganders, including a generous donation to help add an activity room for the hospital’s cancer ward.
It’s work that has always hit close to home with Inge, a father of two. But for him and his wife, Shani, it’s literally close to home now, having moved to Michigan full-time.
Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski noted Inge’s meaning to the community when he talked about his new deal Thursday.
“Some things that they do sometimes get a lot of publicity,” Dombrowski said, “but a lot of times they do it very quickly. And when you can have people in our organization do that, it’s an added plus and something that means so much to a community.”
Inge has a chance to follow in the footsteps of former Tiger Curtis Granderson, who won the award last year. To do so, though, he’ll have to draw more votes from his peers than popular Angels outfielder Torii Hunter and Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Hunter created the Torii Hunter Project as a partnership with the Little League Urban Initiative to help save baseball diamonds in America’s inner cities. Tulowitzki serves as the national spokesperson for the American Academy of Dermatology’s Play Sun Smart program, encouraging skin cancer awareness and prevention.