WASHINGTON — In the thick of Major League Baseball’s awards season, Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander spent his Wednesday night at the U.S. Navy Memorial, where he received a different sort of honor.

The former American League Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award winner became one of three recipients of the inaugural Bob Feller Act of Valor Award, along with U.S. Navy Chief Hospital Corpsman Garth Sinclair and Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, who could not attend. More than 70 years after Feller interrupted his promising career with the Indians to fight in World War II, the award has been established to recognize those who honor the late Hall of Famer’s legacy with their service.

“It’s totally different from on-field accolades. This means a lot in a totally different sense,” said Verlander, who has done extensive work to support veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan as well as their families. “You look at somebody like Bob Feller, who in the middle of his playing career left and went to fight for his country when it needed him. As a fellow baseball player, I respect that, because I know how much I love this game and how much I love playing it and how it would be difficult to do that. But he did.”

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