Verlander's parents talk about his childhood

8:35 PM, Nov 16, 2012   |    comments
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Video: Justin Verlander's parents on star pitcher's upbringing

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) pitches against the New York Yankees during the first inning at Comerica Park. (Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE)

(WZZM) -- From the World Series to being honored with the Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards, Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander has been called one of the greatest pitchers of our generation.

A glimpse of that golden arm was seen early on, tossing a few rocks across the pond with his dad.

"I picked it up threw it as far as I could throw it," says Richard Verlander, Justin's dad. "Justin picked up a rock, threw it all the way across the pond and into some trees. I immediately realized this little guy had a gift"

Richard and Kathy Verlander have written a book about their life raising Justin and his brother Ben. "Rocks Across the Pond" is an inside look at how Justin rose to the level of the Major Leagues. But it's more about parenting.

At an early age, Justin had been labeled as being hyper, too fidgety, and disruptive in class -- but one teacher made a difference.

"She told us one day Justin would harness that energy and put it into something great," says Kathy Verlander. "She just had that feeling. It brings chills to us now."

Justin Verlander's parents can be credited with his humble demeanor.

"There's a certain way to conduct yourself and we never believed that being brash or cocky was acceptable behavior," says Richard. "We taught that to Justin in t-ball. Somebody said, 'Boy you're pretty good.' He got in the car and said, 'I'm good,' and I said, 'Yeah, you are but don't say that around other people'."

One of their proudest moments came when the Detroit Tigers were looking for character witnesses.

"Our neighbor said they didn't have children," says Kathy. "They were elderly. They weren't able to have children. They said if they were ever able to, they'd want them to be just like Justin and Ben. I mean, what more would you want?"

We have more with the Verlanders. You can see the entire interview in the video box on this web page.

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