|Delmon Young hit .353 with two homers and six RBI in the four-game sweep of the Yankees. (Getty Images)|
DETROIT -- Back in April, Delmon Young was charged with a hate crime and suspended by Major League Baseball.
Six months later, his timely hits sent the Detroit Tigers to the World Series.
Young was selected MVP of the AL Championship series Thursday after batting .353 with two homers and six RBI in a four-game sweep of the New York Yankees. The designated hitter capped his latest clutch performance with a run-scoring single in the first inning of an 8-1 rout in Game 4.
|More on ALCS|
|Who wins World Series?|
"Unbelievable," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He got hot again this year at the right time for us. And, you know, he stepped it up under the big lights. Not that they are not bright all year, but they are a little brighter this time of year. He stepped it up two consecutive years for us. And the MVP, what a tremendous honor for him."
Young became the first player with four game-winning RBI in one postseason series, according to STATS LLC.
The top pick in the 2003 amateur draft by Tampa Bay, Young flashed a volatile temper early in his career. He was suspended 50 games in the minors for tossing a bat that hit an umpire, and his troubles didn't end once he reached the big leagues.
Young was arrested in April in New York on a hate-crime harassment charge. He was accused of yelling anti-Jewish epithets at a group of tourists, tussling with them and tackling one to the ground while the Tigers were in town to play the Yankees.
Young was suspended for seven days without pay by the commissioner's office and finished the season hitting .267 with 18 homers and 74 RBI. He appeared briefly in a Manhattan court in August for an update on the misdemeanor case and his lawyer said Young was trying to work out a deal with prosecutors.
Young has said he regrets what happened. His lawyer, Daniel J. Ollen, has said the player reacted to something that was said to him.
Young is free on $5,000 bond and due back in court Nov. 7, after the World Series.
On the field, however, he's been an October nemesis for the Yankees the past two years, hitting five playoff home runs against them as Detroit eliminated New York both times. Young's seven career postseason homers -- all in the past two years -- are a Tigers record.
Asked to explain his October success, Young said: "I have no clue. I need to figure it out for the season, too."
Playing in the postseason for the fourth straight year, the 27-year-old Young drove in as many runs as the Yankees scored in the entire ALCS.
Now, he's headed to his first World Series.
"That was thanks to our starting pitchers," Young said. "They carried us the whole playoffs so far, making it easy on the offense by putting up zeros on the board."
Big league success runs in the family, too.
Young's older brother, Dmitri, was a two-time All-Star and .292 career hitter who played in St. Louis, Cincinnati, Detroit (for five seasons) and Washington from 1996-2008.
Dmitri Young, who is 12 years older than Delmon, had a great view of his kid brother's home run during a 2-1 victory in Game 3. Watching Delmon play in Detroit for the first time, Dmitri was in the 25th row behind home plate. He captured video of the solo shot, starting with the crack of the bat.
"I put my phone up and bam!" the elder Young said with an ear-to-ear grin later in the game. "I'm real proud of him."