Don Drysdale emphasizes the strain and sacrifices that come with the demanding schedule of a professional ballplayer — especially on the side of that ballplayer’s family. A right-handed pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers for his entire career, Drysdale won the 1962 Cy Young Award, and in 1968, he set a Major League record by pitching six consecutive shutouts and 58 2⁄3 consecutive scoreless innings. Drysdale ended his career with 209 wins, 2,486 strikeouts, 167 complete games and 49 shutouts. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984.
It’s always gut wrenching to hear of the death of a player who left such a mark on the game. Roy Halladay was known as an impressively hard worker, and his effort showed in his play. He was an eight-time All-Star and a two-time Cy Young winner. He threw a perfect game against the Marlins on May 29, 2010, and during the 2010 NLDS, Halladay threw a second no-hitter against the Reds. It made him only the fifth pitcher in major league history to throw multiple no-hitters in a single season.
Rest in peace, Roy Halladay.
On February 7, 1987, Dodger pitcher Orel Hershiser signed for $800,000, a twenty-percent pay-cut from the year before. It was the second time since the practice of arbitration has been implemented that a player was forced to take less. After winning the Cy Young Award and leading the team to a World Series championship in 1988, however, the Hershiser became the highest-paid player in the big leagues.
On November 12, 1986, Roger Clemens of the Red Sox became only the second American League pitcher to unanimously win the Cy Young Award. Clemens had posted a 24-4 record, with an ERA of 2.48 for the season. The first AL pitcher to win the Cy Young by unanimous vote was Denny McLain in 1968.
On November 25, 1981, Rollie Fingers of the Milwaukee Brewers became the first relief pitcher ever to win the American League MVP award. He narrowly beat Rickey Henderson by 11 points for the honor, taking 15 first place votes to Henderson’s 12. That year, Rollie Fingers also won the Cy Young Award for the American League.
On November 5, 1976, for the second consecutive season (and third ever), Orioles pitcher Jim Palmer won the Cy Young Award. In the voting cast by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA), Palmer won 19 of 24 first place votes. That season, Palmer finished with a record of 22-13, a 2.51 ERA, and an average of 4.5 strikeouts per nine innings.
The first Cy Young Award was given out following the 1956 season, and, at the time, it was given only to the single best pitcher in both leagues. Brooklyn pitcher Don Newcombe became the first ever Cy Young winner, finishing the season with a 27-7 record and a 3.06 ERA. The Cy Young would continue to be given to only one pitcher each year until 1967, when it then started being given to one pitcher in each league.
In 1969, two pitchers tied in the voting for the Cy Young award for the first time in baseball history. Denny McLain of the Detroit Tigers finished the season with a 24-9 record and a 2.80 ERA. Meanwhile, the Baltimore Orioles’ Mike Cuellar finished with a 23-11 record and an ERA of 2.38. Both men received ten votes from the BBWAA (Baseball Writer’s Association of America) as being the best pitcher in the American League.
On 30 October 1963, Sandy Koufax was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player. Only six days prior, Koufax had also been unanimously voted as the winner of the Cy Young award. Pitching 40 games during the 1963 season, Koufax finished with a 25-5 record and a 1.88 ERA. He also went 2-0 in the World Series as the Los Angeles Dodgers swept the New York Yankees in four games.
On 22 April 1970, during the pregame ceremony, New York Mets pitcher Tom Seaver was presented with the 1969 Cy Young award. In the game that followed, Seaver struck out a record ten consecutive batters as he led the Mets to a 2-1 victory over the San Diego Padres. He struck out nineteen total hitters over the course of the game, which tied another Major League record. Even better, four of those batters struck out looking.
I guess Seaver didn’t want to leave any doubt that he really did deserve that Cy Young, eh?