Denton True “Cy” Young 1867-1955
Cleveland Spiders 1890-1898
St. Louis Perfectos/Cardinals 1899-1900
Boston Americans/Red Sox 1901-1908
Cleveland Naps 1909-1911
Boston Rustlers 1911
Career WAR: 170.3
Best Season: 1901 33-10 1.62 ERA (219 ERA+) 2.64 FIP 0.972 WHIP 158 K 12.6 WAR
Known For: All he did was win. Credited with 511 wins, 94 ahead of the second winningest pitcher in baseball history (Walter Johnson). The annual award for the best pitcher in each league bears his name.
“He’s (Cy Young) too green to do your club much good, but I believe if I taught him what I know, I might make a pitcher out of him in a couple of years. He’s not worth it now, but I’m willing to give you a $1,000 for him.” – Cap Anson
“Cap, you can keep your thousand and we’ll keep the rube.” – Gus Schmelz
The Nickname: Short for “Cyclone,” it was given to him during early in his career and referred to the way the fences would look after Young threw his practice pitches against them – they looked like a cyclone had hit them.
How Fast?: Chief Zimmer, Young’s catcher during his years with the Cleveland Spiders, used to put a beefsteak inside of his glove to protect his hand from the pain of Cy’s fastball. It is estimated that Young to Zimmer as a battery has played in more games than any other battery.
Adjustment: Young was able to stick in baseball for so long because he adapted as he lost velocity on his fastball. He focused on control and became one of the game’s best at control pitching.
Fitting, Perhaps: The Cy Young Award has been criticized (ahem) for being awarded too often to the top winner in the league rather than the best pitcher. Young was, of course, both the top winner and the best pitcher in his league many times during his long career.