Monday, February 12, 2007

Combined Cy Young Awards

I haven't posted in a while, I have been preoccupied with a house purchase (should be tomorrow, unless a massive snowstorm prevents me or the seller from making it to closing) . Spring training is just about here though, so its time to get back to writing something now and then.

In 1966 Sandy Koufax won the Cy Young award, winning 27 games with a 1.73 ERA. Who won the American league Cy Young? The answer is nobody, up to that point there was only one award for the two leagues combined. So I wonder, what if they never changed that? Would Clemens, Maddux, and Johnson have been able to rack up as many awards as they did? One rule I have is that the combined award must go to either the NL or AL winner for that year, in other words for 2005 I can't skip Bartolo Colon and Chris Carpenter to give it to Johan Santana.

Lets see:

1967 - Jim Lonborg. He's pretty even with NL winner Mike McCormick, but I'll give him the edge for helping win the pennant.

1968 - Bob Gibson. Tough one, as Bob Gibson and Denny McClain pitched two of the more legendary seasons of the last half century, and both led their teams to the world series. But I'll take the ERA over the Wins here.

1969 - Tom Seaver
1970 - Bob Gibson
1971 - Vida Blue - an easy choice, he and Fergie Jenkins both won 24, but Blue had over 300 strikeouts and a better ERA by almost a full run.
1972 - Steve Carlton. Gaylord Perry actually had a slightly better ERA, but Carlton had more strikeouts, a better ERA+, and won 27 games for a team that only won 59, truly a legendary feat.
1973 - Tom Seaver
1974 - Mike Marshall. 106 games, 208 innings in relief. Damn.
1975 - Jim Palmer
1976 - Jim Palmer
1977 - Steve Carlton
1978 - Ron Guidry
1979 - Mike Flanagan
1980 - Steve Carlton
1981 - Rollie Fingers. Nothing against Fernando, but his ERA wasn't even top 5 in the National League that year. Steve Carlton had the same wins, fewer losses, and a better ERA. Tom Seaver was very close in ERA, and was 14-2 vs Fernando's 13-7. Nolan Ryan should have won the award with his 1.69 ERA. The writers gave it to Fernando because of his great start, and never bothered to check the final numbers. It angered me then, that grown men entrusted with the vote could be so short-sited. After all, I knew better, and I was only 10 years old. So my award goes to Rollie Fingers, who pitched more innings (78) than most closers do today - but did it in 2/3 of a schedule.

1982 - Carlton
1983 - John Denny
1984 - Rick Sutcliffe
1985 - Dwight Gooden
1986 - Mike Scott. I probably should have picked Clemens, not for having 6 more wins, but for having a better ERA+, 169 to 163. No question Fenway was a tougher place to pitch than the Astrodome. I'm picking Scott as a pure fanboy. I was in awe watching him pitch that year. And I'm probably the last person on earth to think he was doing it legal. He displayed his split finger grip on TV during the playoffs. I spent a winter with a baseball between my index and middle fingers, then tried it out the next spring. The movement was unreal, and I didn't need any foreign substances to do it.

1987 - Roger Clemens
1988 - Orel Herschiser
1989 - Bret Saberhagen
1990 - Doug Drabek
1991 - Roger Clemens
1992 - Greg Maddux
1993 - Greg Maddux
1994 - Greg Maddux
1995 - Greg Maddux. The combined award has no effect on Maddux and his 4 straight.
1996 - John Smoltz
1997 - Roger Clemens
1998 - Roger Clemens. Pedro gives Roger some good competition, but Roger has the edge.
1999 - Pedro Martinez
2000 - Pedro Martinez. Pedro has two of the greatest seasons ever at the height of a run scoring boom.

2001 - Randy Johnson
2002- Randy Johnson
2003 -Eric Gagne
2004 - Johan Santana
2005 - Chris Carpenter
2006 - Johan Santana

The lifetime totals are now:

4 - Maddux, Clemens, Carlton
3 - Koufax
2 - Santana, Pedro, Johnson, Palmer, Seaver, and Gibson