After notching his 20th victory of the season -- in his final start of the year -- Sept. 30 against the White Sox, David Price was asked if he felt his 2012 was worthy of the AL Cy Young.
"One hundred percent," Price told reporters.
How would he vote, if he had one?
"I would vote for myself," Price said.
Just enough members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America felt the same way.
By one of the slimmest of margins in the history of the award, Price, who finished second to Felix Hernandez in 2010, took the AL Cy Young over the Tigers' Justin Verlander in results announced Wednesday night by the BBWAA.
Price, who went 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA -- he tied the Angels' Jered Weaver for most wins in the AL and led in ERA -- placed first on 14 ballots and finished with 143 points.
Verlander, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner and MVP who went 17-8 with a 2.64 ERA and led the AL in innings pitched (2381/3), strikeouts (239) and complete games (six), earned 13 first-place votes and finished with 139 points.
"It means a lot," Price said on a conference call Wednesday night. "To get voted as the best pitcher in your league, it's a blessing and an honor. It's something I'll always have. To be able to have the award and be on the list with all those names, it means a lot to me."
The four-point differential was the closest of any election since ballots permitted voting for more than one pitcher in 1970.
"The year he had coming off his 2011 year, for him to be able to come back and have the year he had in 2012, I feel that speaks volumes about his character and his work ethic," Price, 27, said of Verlander. "That's awesome to see that. It's something I'm going to try to [duplicate].''
Weaver (20-5, 2.81) finished third with 70 points.
What might have pushed Price over the top was the one head-to-head matchup between he and Verlander.
It came June 29 inside Tropicana Field and Price prevailed in the Rays' 4-2 victory. On that Friday night, Price allowed two runs and five hits, while striking out seven, over seven innings. Verlander allowed four runs and six hits, including three home runs, over six innings. He struck out eight.
Oddly, Price didn't recall that night but that, and the Cy Young aside, he wasn't ready to put himself in Verlander's category. Yes, he would have voted for himself for 2012 Cy Young but not as the overall best pitcher in the AL. The 29-year-old Verlander, he said, has done it consistently a bit longer.
"Verlander, he probably still gets my vote," Price said. "The way he takes the ball every five days, that's something I look up to."
Verlander was a unanimous Cy Young winner in 2011 after he went 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA. He was the first unanimous winner in the AL since Johan Santana (Twins, 2006).