Tag Archives: Tom Seaver

NL’s Cy Young Award has gone to a Phillies hurler seven times

Embed from Getty Images

Denny won the 1983 NL Cy Young Award for his performance with the Phillies that season

 

Major League Baseball continues the announcement of its 2019 awards on Wednesday evening. The top pitchers in both the National and American Leagues will be honored as the Cy Young Award winners are publicly revealed in a 6:00 pm EST broadcast on the MLB Network.

Those will be the more formally recognized awards as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America. However, a few hours earlier, the IBWAA (Internet Baseball Writers Association of America) will announce the winners of voting from their membership.

The 2019 American League Cy Young Award finalists are teammates Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander of the AL champion Houston Astros and former Phillies pitcher Charlie Morton of the Tampa Bay Rays. Verlander previously won the award back in 2011 and is a three-time runner-up for the honors.

In the National League, the finalists are last year’s winner Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets, Korean southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and three-time winner Max Scherzer of the world champion Washington Nationals. Both Ryu and Cole are free agents this off-season.

My choices are Cole and deGrom. Those are the two men who received my IBWAA vote.

MLB first began recognizing the best pitcher in baseball with this formal award with the 1956 season. For the first 11 years, just one winner for all of Major League Baseball was honored.

Due to an overwhelming outpouring of fan requests, a winner was honored from both the National and American Leagues beginning with the 1957 season.

In 1969, the American League vote ended in a tie between Denny McLain of the Detroit Tigers and Mike Cuellar of the Baltimore Orioles, and for the only time in the history of the award it was shared. Voting rules were changed as a result, with just one winner honored thereafter.

While the Cy is generally considered to be an honor for the top starting pitcher in the game, that is not a requirement. Mike Marshall of the Los Angeles Dodgers became the first reliever to take the honors in 1974, and eight other relievers have since won the award across the two leagues. The most recent was Eric Gagne of the Dodgers back in 2003.

Roger Clemens holds a record for having won the award seven times. A pair of former Phillies pitchers, Roy Halladay and Pedro Martinez, are among a group of a half-dozen hurlers to be honored with the Cy in both leagues at some point during their careers.

The late Baseball Hall of Famer and Phillies Wall of Famer Halladay is one of just four pitchers to take home a National League Cy Young Award while a member of the Fightin’ Phils pitching staff.

Halladay was the unanimous winner of the award after a historic 2010 season in which he threw a Perfect Game as well as just the second postseason no-hitter in MLB history. He registered an incredible 8.6 WAR value that year, winning 21 games and tossing 250.2 innings with nine complete games.

In 1983, right-hander John Denny captured the honors with the Phillies “Wheeze Kids” team that would go on to win the National League pennant. Denny received 20 of 24 first-place votes to finish as an easy winner.

That Cy followed a 19-win season during which he tossed 242.2 innings over 36 starts. Denny was also the NL’s Comeback Player of the Year in that first full season after coming to the Phillies from the Cleveland Indians in a September 1982 trade.

Four years later, the only Phillies relief pitcher to ever win the Cy took the honors in one of the closest votes ever. Steve Bedrosian saved 40 games for the team that year, exactly half of their total 1987 wins total. He worked 89 innings over 65 games, allowing 79 hits with 74 strikeouts and a 2.83 ERA.

“Bedrock” received just nine of 24 first-place votes, but came out the winner with 57 total voting points. That total edged out the 55 received by Rick Sutcliffe (four first-place) of the Chicago Cubs and 54 for Rick Reuschel (eight first-place), who split the season between the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants.

Halladay, Denny, Bedrosian. Those are three of the seven times that a Phillies pitcher has taken the NL honors. As I said earlier, four pitchers have won the award while with the club. Which means that the fourth hurler would put four Cy Young Awards into his trophy case.

That hurler was, of course, lefty Steve Carlton. The greatest pitcher in Phillies franchise history, Carlton won the Cy for his performances on the mound in the 1972, 1977, 1980, and 1982 campaigns.

That first win in 1972 was one of the most impressive pitching performances in Major League Baseball history. In his first season after arriving from the Saint Louis Cardinals in a spring training trade for Rick Wise, Carlton was the unanimous winner of what has been ranked as the ninth-greatest Cy Young season in history.

The man who became alternately known as “Lefty” or “Super Steve” won 27 games with a putrid Phillies team that would win just 59 games. He made 41 starts with 30 complete games, numbers that are unheard of in today’s game. Carlton allowed just 257 hits over 346.1 innings with 310 strikeouts, registering a 1.97 ERA and 0.993 WHIP.

In 1977, Carlton won 23 games while tossing 283 innings over 36 starts. He registered 17 complete games and struck out 198 with a 2.64 ERA and 1.124 WHIP. That performance allowed him to receive 17 of 26 first-place votes and finish comfortably ahead of runner-up Tommy John of the Dodgers.

For his performance during the Phillies first-ever World Series-winning campaign in 1980, Carlton became just the third pitcher to ever win three Cy’s, joining Sandy Koufax and Tom Seaver with that distinction.

That year, the lefty won 24 games, with 38 of his starts resulting in 13 complete games. He struck out 286 batters while allowing just 243 hits across 304 innings pitched. Carlton registered a 2.34 ERA and 1.095 WHIP, and received 23 of the 24 first-place votes as the runaway winner.

Two years later, Carlton became the first pitcher to ever win four career Cy Young Awards, and did so again in runaway fashion, receiving 20 of 24 first-place votes.

That season, Carlton won 23 games while making 38 starts, half of those resulting in complete games. He struck out 286 over 295.2 innings with a 1.147 WHIP for a Phillies team that would battle his old Saint Louis club for the NL East crown down to the last two weeks of the season before falling three games short.

Carlton and Halladay went on to become both Baseball Hall of Famers and Phillies Wall of Famers. Carlton’s 84.1 career WAR mark is the fifth-best in baseball history among left-handed pitchers, while Halladay’s 65.4 mark leaves him among the top 50 hurlers in the history of the game.

Denny had a nice career, winning 123 games over 13 big-league seasons, 37 of those with the Phillies over parts of four years. Bedrosian registered 184 career saves and 76 wins in a 14-year career.

At this time last season, Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola was a finalist for the award after winning 17 games and allowing just 149 hits over 212.1 innings across 33 starts with 224 strikeouts.

Will Nola some day become the fifth Phillies pitcher to capture an NL Cy Young Award? Perhaps Zach Eflin will elevate his game to that level. Or maybe the club will be able to lure Cole or Ryu this winter in free agency and find one of them taking the honors in some future season.

One thing is certain, as the 2011 Phillies who won a franchise record 102 regular season games while featuring a “Four Aces” rotation of Halladay, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, and Roy Oswalt showed, starting pitching is the name of the game in Major League Baseball.

The Phillies need to upgrade their starting pitching rotation by landing a pair of new, proven arms in the free agent market this winter. If they do, the club should finally once again become a serious challenger for a postseason berth in 2020. And perhaps they’ll also get a Cy Young winner in the bargain.

 

MORE RECENT PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES CONTENT:

 

Cincinnati Reds All-Time 25-Man Roster

The Cincinnati Red Stockings were one of the eight charter members of the original National League when it first formed in February of 1876.
That first Reds involvement in the NL would not last long. The team was expelled after five seasons for violating two early league rules.

Cincinnati opened their park on Sundays, and marketed beer. The final Reds club finished in last place with a 21-59-3 mark in the 1880 season.

Instead of disbanding, Reds ownership kept the club organized. They would eventually help to form the new American Association in 1881. The AA would last as a challenger to the NL for a full decade from 1882-91. The Reds would capture the very first AA pennant in the 1882 campaign.
Following the 1889 season, Cincinnati re-joined the National League. The club won 92 games by the 1898 season, good enough for a 3rd place finish.

THE BLACK SOX AND THE ROARING TWENTIES

The Reds finally captured their first NL pennant in 1919 under the guidance of skipper Pat Moran. Those Reds were heavy underdogs in the World Series to the AL champion Chicago White Sox. But Cincinnati shocked baseball when they pulled off a dramatic 5-3 win in the Fall Classic.
However, a number of key Chisox regulars had conspired with gamblers to “throw” the World Series. This would infamously become known in baseball history as the “Black Sox” scandal.
The Reds would finish in 2nd place three times over the next seven seasons, but collapsed to the bottom of the league by the end of the 1920’s.

REDS RE-EMERGE AS CONTENDERS

The Reds struggled through the 1930’s. Then in 1939, the team emerged from a decade of obscurity to capture their 2nd NL pennant. They were promptly swept out by the New York Yankees in the World Series.
Led by manager Bill McKechnie, the club returned to the Fall Classic the following season. This time they battled the Detroit Tigers in a dramatic seven-game World Series.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the 7th inning of Game 7, the Reds rallied for two runs. They hung on to that lead, and won the second World Series championship in franchise history. First baseman Frank McCormick took home the World Series MVP honors.
In the midst of America’s anti-communist “Red scare”, the team officially changed their nickname for 1953 back to their historical roots. The Cincinnati Redlegs would thus participate formally through 1959.
The club returned to use of the “Reds” nickname for 1960, and returned to the World Series in 1961 for the first time in more than two decades. However, they were summarily dismissed by the New York Yankees in five games.
The Reds fielded a winner for much of the 1960’s, but did not win another pennant. As the decade was ending a new crop of players emerged at the big league level and in the farm system. This would prove to be the beginnings of the ‘Big Red Machine’ dynasty.

THE BIG RED MACHINE

During the decade of the 1970’s, that group of Reds would capture a half-dozen NL West crowns, finishing second in the division three other times.
These were the first years of Major League Baseball’s “divisional era”, and the Reds would win the NL pennant in both 1970 and 1972. However, they were defeated in the World Series both times. In 1970, the Baltimore Orioles downed the Reds in five games. In 1972, Cincy lost to the Oakland A’s in seven games.
After being upset in five games by the New York Mets in the 1973 NLCS, and missing the playoffs despite 98 regular season wins the following year, the Reds finally broke through big in the 1975 season.
In 1975, the full dominance of the ‘Big Red Machine’ was on display in a franchise record 108-win regular season. The Reds then swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NLCS, advancing to the World Series for the third time in five years.
Reds
In one of the most dramatic and exciting World Series in history, Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson‘s Reds won a thrilling Game 7 to capture the third World Series championship in franchise history.
In 1976, the Reds continued their dominance. The club won 102 games during the regular season, and swept through the postseason. They downed the Philadelphia Phillies 3-0 in the NLCS, then defeated the New York Yankees in four straight to capture back-to-back World Series titles.
Cincy was passed in the division by a talented Los Angeles Dodgers team in both 1977 and 1978. Then in 1979, the Reds returned to the top of the NL West. However, they were swept out in three games by the “We Are Family” Pittsburgh Pirates in the NLCS that year.

SURPRISE WORLD SERIES, RECENT FRUSTRATIONS

During the 1980’s there would be five 2nd place finishes for the Reds. This included both “halves” of the strike-shortened 1981 split-season format. But the club did not return to the postseason during that decade.
In 1990, manager Lou Piniella led the Reds to their first NL West crown in over a decade. Then they fought past a tough Pittsburgh Pirates team in six games to capture their first NL pennant since 1976.
In the World Series, the Reds were big underdogs to a powerful Oakland A’s team. But Cincy not only beat Oakland, they swept the A’s in four straight.
That 1990 World Series title, the fifth in franchise history, is the club’s most recent championship. The Reds won NL Central crowns in the 1995, 2010, and 2012 seasons. They were also the NL Wild card team in 2013. But they have just a 2-11 postseason record since the 1995 NLCS.

ALL-TIME ROSTER MAKEUP

The Reds have a tremendous history stretching back to the earliest organized days of the sport. However, much of their success has been built on strong offensive production. Pitching has rarely been a forte’ for the club.
The toughest decisions here came towards the back-end of the starting pitching rotation and in the bullpen.
With this Reds roster, I only went with a 10-man pitching staff. I stuck to my usual two slots for pure relievers. There are the usual two catchers as well, which for this team were easy calls. The rest of the position players break out as seven infielders and six outfielders.

APOLOGIES TO THOSE LEFT OUT

In a team with so much history, some good players who made significant contributions are going to get left out. So now it’s time for my usual “apologies” segment of these projects.
Among position players, those left out included Cy SeymourBrandon PhillipsDan Driessen, and Ted Kluszewski. Also missing the cutoff were Gus BellSean CaseyJay BruceJohn ReillyAdam DunnEric Davis, and Wally Post.