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Cy Young

Pitcher
Born: March 29, 1867(1867-03-29)
Gilmore, Ohio
Died: November 4, 1955 (aged 88)
Newcomerstown, Ohio
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
August 6, 1890 for the Cleveland Spiders
Last MLB appearance
October 11, 1911 for the Boston Rustlers
Career statistics
Win-Loss record     511–316
Earned run average     2.63
Strikeouts     2,803
Teams
Career highlights and awards

MLB Records

  • 511 career wins
  • 7,354 2/3 innings pitched
  • 815 career games started
  • 749 career complete games
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction     1937
Vote     76.12%

Denton True "Cy" Young (March 29, 1867 – November 4, 1955) was an American baseball player who pitched for five different major league teams from 1890 to 1911. Young was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937. One year after Young's death, the Cy Young Award was created to honor the previous season's best pitcher.

During his 22-year career, Young established numerous professional pitching records in the majors, some of which have stood for a century. Young retired with 511 career wins, 94 wins ahead of Walter Johnson, who is second on the list of most wins in Major League history.[1]

In addition to wins, Young currently holds the Major League records for most career innings pitched (7,355), most career games started (815), and most complete games (749).[2][3][4] He also retired with 316 losses, the most in MLB history.[5] Young's 76 career shutouts are fourth all-time.[6] He also won at least 30 games in a season five times, with ten other seasons of 20 or more wins.[7] In addition, Young pitched three no-hitters, including the first perfect game of baseball's "modern era".[a] In 1999, 88 years after his final Major League appearance and 44 years after his death, editors at The Sporting News ranked Cy Young 14th on their list of "Baseball's 100 Greatest Players".[8] That same year, baseball fans named him to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

Young's career started in 1890 with the Cleveland Spiders. After eight years with the Spiders, Young was moved to St. Louis in 1899. After two years there, Young jumped to the newly-created American League, joining the Boston franchise. He was traded back to Cleveland in 1909, before spending the final two months of his career in Boston. After his retirement, Young went back to his farm in Ohio, where he stayed until his death at age 88 in 1955.

Contents

Early life

Cy Young was the oldest child born to McKinzie Young Jr. and Nancy Miller. The couple had four more children: Carl, Lon, Ella, and Otto. When the couple married, McKinzie's father gave him the 54 acres (220,000 m2) of farm land he owned.[9] Young was born in Gilmore, a tiny farming community located in Washington Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio. He was christened Denton True Young. Some sources later, and even today, list his middle name erroneously as "Tecumseh", apparently as a result of being nicknamed "The Chief" by teammates.[2]

He was raised on one of the local farms and went by the name Dent Young in his early years.[10] Young was also known as "Farmer Young" and "Farmboy Young". Young stopped his formal education after he completed the sixth grade,[11] so he could help out on the family's farm. In 1885, Young moved with his father to Nebraska, and in the summer of 1887, they returned to Gilmore.

Cy Young played for many amateur baseball leagues during his youth, including a "semi-pro" Carrollton team in 1888. Young pitched and played second base. The first box score known containing the name Young came from that season. In that game, Young played first base and had three hits in three at-bats. After the season, Young received an offer to play for the major league Canton team, which started Young's professional career.[9]

Professional career

Before Major League Baseball

Young began his professional career in 1889 with the Canton, Ohio team of the Tri-State League, a professional minor league. During his tryout, Young impressed the scouts, recalling years later, "I almost tore the boards off the grandstand with my fast ball."[12] Cy Young's nickname came from the fences that he had destroyed using his fastball. The fences looked like a cyclone [tornado] had hit them. Reporters later shortened the name to "Cy", which became the nickname Young used for the rest of his life.[13] During Young's one year with the Canton team, he won 15 games and lost 15.[10]

Franchises in the National League, the major professional sports league at the time, wanted the best players available to them. Therefore, in 1890, Young signed with the Cleveland Spiders, a team which had moved up from the American Association to the National League the previous year.

Cleveland Spiders

On August 6, 1890, Young's major league debut, he pitched a three-hit shutout.[14] While Young was on the Spiders, Chief Zimmer was his catcher more often than any other player. Bill James, a baseball statistician, estimated that Zimmer caught Young in more games than any other battery in baseball history.[15]

Early on, Young established himself as one of the harder-throwing pitchers in the game. Bill James wrote that Zimmer often put a piece of beefsteak inside his baseball glove to protect his catching hand from Young's fastball.[15] In the absence of radar guns, however, it is difficult to say just how hard Young actually threw. Young continued to perform at a high level during the 1890 season. On the last day of the season, Young won both games of a doubleheader.[11] In the first weeks of Young's career, Cap Anson, the player-manager of the Chicago Colts spotted Young's ability. Anson told Spiders' manager Gus Schmelz, "He's 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 $1,000 ($24,133 in current dollar terms) for him." Schmelz replied, "Cap, you can keep your thousand and we'll keep the rube."[16]

Two years after Young's debut, the National League moved the pitcher's position back by 5 feet (1.5 m). Since 1881, pitchers had pitched within a "box" whose front line was 50 feet (15 m) from home base, and since 1887 they had been compelled to toe the back line of the box when delivering the ball. The back line was 55 feet 6 inches (16.92 m) away from home. In 1893, 5 feet (1.5 m) was added to the back line, yielding the modern pitching distance of 60 feet 6 inches (18.44 m). In the book The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers, sports journalist Rob Neyer wrote that the speed with which pitchers like Cy Young, Amos Rusie, and Jouett Meekin threw was the impetus that caused the move.[17]

The 1892 regular season was a success for Young, who led the National League in wins (36), ERA (1.93), and shutouts (9). Just as many contemporary Minor League Baseball leagues operate today, the National League was using a split season format during the 1892 season.[18] The Boston Beaneaters won the first-half title, and the Spiders won the second-half title, with a best-of-nine series determining the league champion. Despite the Spiders' second half run, the Beaneaters swept the series, five games to none. Young pitched three complete games in the series, but lost two decisions. He also threw a complete game shutout, but the game ended in a 0–0 tie.

The Spiders faced the Baltimore Orioles in the Temple Cup, a precursor to the World Series, in 1895. Young won three games in the series and Cleveland won the Cup, four games to one. It was around this time that Young added what he called a "slow ball" to his pitching repertoire to reduce stress on his arm. The pitch today is called a changeup.[11]

In 1896, Young lost a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth inning when Ed Delahanty of the Philadelphia Phillies hit a single.[19] On September 18, 1897, Young pitched the first no-hitter of his career in a game against the Cincinnati Reds. Although Young did not walk a batter, the Spiders committed four errors while on defense. One of the errors had originally been ruled a hit, but the Cleveland third baseman sent a note to the press box after the eighth inning, saying he had made an error, and the ruling was changed. Young later said, that, despite his teammate's gesture, he considered the game to be a one-hitter.[20]

Shift to St. Louis

Prior to the 1899 season, Frank Robison, the Spiders owner, bought the St. Louis Browns, thus owning two clubs at the same time. The Browns were renamed the "Perfectos," and restocked with Cleveland talent. Just weeks before the season opener, most of the better Spiders players were transferred to St. Louis, including three future Hall of Famers: Young, Jesse Burkett and Bobby Wallace.[21] The roster maneuvers failed to create a powerhouse Perfectos team, as St. Louis finished fifth in both 1899 and 1900. Meanwhile, the depleted Spiders lost 134 games, the most in MLB history, before folding. Young spent two years with St. Louis, which is where he found his favorite catcher, Lou Criger. The two men were teammates for a decade.[11][22]

Move to the American League

In 1901, the rival American League declared major league status and set about raiding National League rosters. Young left St. Louis and joined the American League's Boston Americans for a $3,500 contract ($91,224 in current dollar terms). Young would remain with the Boston team until 1909. In his first year in the American League, Young was dominant. Pitching to Criger, who had also jumped to Boston, Young led the league in wins, strikeouts and ERA[b], thus earning the colloquial AL Triple Crown for Pitchers.[7] Young won almost 42% of his team's games in 1901, accounting for 33 of his team's 79 wins.[23] In February 1902, before the start of the baseball season, Young served as a pitching coach at Harvard University. The sixth-grade graduate instructing Harvard students delighted Boston newspapers.[11] The following year, Young coached at Mercer University during the spring. The team went on to win the Georgia state championship in 1903, 1904 and 1905.[24]

The Boston Americans played the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first modern World Series in 1903. Young, who started Game One against the visiting Pirates, thus threw the first pitch in modern World Series history. The Pirates scored four runs in that first inning and Young lost the game. Young performed better in subsequent games, winning his next two starts. He also drove in three runs in Game Five. Young finished the series with a 2–1 record and a 1.85 ERA in four appearances, and the Boston Americans defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates, five games to three games.

After one-hitting Boston on May 2, 1904, Philadelphia Athletics pitcher Rube Waddell taunted Young to face him so that he could repeat his performance against Boston's ace. Three days later, Young pitched a perfect game against Waddell and the Athletics.[a2] It was the first perfect game in American League history.[a3][25][26] Waddell was the 27th and last batter, and when he flied out, Young shouted, "How do you like that, you hayseed?" Waddell had picked an inauspicious time to issue his challenge. Young's perfect game was the centerpiece of a pitching streak. Young set major league records for the most consecutive scoreless innings pitched and the most consecutive innings without allowing a hit; the latter record still stands at 24.1 innings, or 73 hitless batters.[27] Even after allowing a hit, Young's scoreless streak reached a then-record 45 shutout innings. Before Young, only two pitchers had thrown perfect games.[a3] This occurred in 1880, when Lee Richmond and John Ward pitched perfect games within five days of each other, although under somewhat different rules: the front edge of the pitcher's box was only 45 feet (14 m) from home base (the modern release point is about 10 feet (3.0 m) farther away); walks required eight balls; and pitchers were obliged to throw side-armed. Young's perfect game was the first under the modern rules established in 1893. One year later, on July 4, 1905, Rube Waddell beat Young and the Americans, 4–2, in a 20-inning matchup. Young pitched 13 consecutive scoreless innings before he gave up a pair of unearned runs in the final inning. Young did not walk a batter and was later quoted: "For my part, I think it was the greatest game of ball I ever took part in."[28] In 1907, Young and Waddell faced off in a scoreless 13-inning tie.

In 1908, Young pitched the third no-hitter of his career. Three months past his 41st birthday, Cy Young was the oldest pitcher to record a no-hitter, a record which would stand 82 years until 43-year-old Nolan Ryan surpassed the feat. Only a walk kept Young from his second perfect game. After that runner was caught stealing, no other batter reached base. At this time, Young was the second-oldest player in either league. In another game one month before his no-hitter, he allowed just one single while facing 28 batters.[23] On August 13, 1908, the league celebrated "Cy Young Day." No American League games were played on that day, and a group of All-Stars from the league's other teams gathered in Boston to play against Young and the Red Sox.[29]

Cleveland Naps and retirement

A 1911 baseball card of Young produced by the American Tobacco Company

Young was traded back to Cleveland, the place where he played over half his career, before the 1909 season, to the Cleveland Naps of the American League. He split 1911, his final year, between the Naps and the Boston Rustlers.

On September 22, 1911, Young shut out the Pittsburgh Pirates, 1–0, for his last career victory.[30] In his final start two weeks later, the last eight batters of Young's career combined to hit a triple, four singles and three doubles.[31]

After baseball

Young (far left) with (L to R) Jake Stahl and Bill Carrigan during spring training in 1912.

From 1912 until his death in 1955, Cy Young lived and worked on his farm. His wife, Robba, whom he had known since childhood, died in 1933.[9][11] After she died, Young tried several jobs, and eventually moved in with friends John and Ruth Benedum and did odd jobs for them. Young took part in many baseball events after his retirement.[11] In 1937, 26 years after he retired from baseball, Cy Young was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was among the first to donate mementos to the Hall.

On November 4, 1955, Cy Young died on his farm at the age of 88. He was buried in Peoli, Ohio.[32]

Baseball legacy

Young retired with 511 career wins. His win total set the record for most career wins by a pitcher. At the time, Pud Galvin had the second most career wins with 364. Walter Johnson, then in his fourth season, finished his career with 417 wins and, as of 2010, is second on the list. In 1921, Johnson broke Young's career record for strikeouts.[33]

Cy Young's career is seen as a bridge from baseball's earliest days to its modern era; he pitched against stars such as Cap Anson, already an established player when the National League was first formed in 1876, as well as against Eddie Collins, who played until 1930. When Young's career began, pitchers delivered the baseball underhand and fouls were not counted as strikes. The pitcher's mound was not moved back to its present position of 60 feet 6 inches (18.44 m) until Young's fourth season; he did not wear a glove until his sixth season.[11]

A photo of Young taken in 1908 was the source for a painting that was displayed in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Young led his league in wins five times (1892, 1895, and 1901–1903), finishing second twice. His career high was 36 in 1892. He had fifteen seasons with twenty or more wins, two more than the runners-up, Christy Mathewson and Warren Spahn. Young won two ERA titles during his career, in 1892 (1.93) and in 1901 (1.62), and was three times the runner-up. Young's earned run average was below 2.00 six times, but this was not uncommon during the dead-ball era. Although Young threw over 400 innings in each of his first four full seasons, he did not lead his league until 1902. He had 40 or more complete games nine times. Young also led his league in strikeouts twice (with 140 in 1896, and 158 in 1901), and in shutouts seven times.[7] Young led his league in fewest walks per nine innings thirteen times and finished second one season. Only twice in his 22-year career did Young finish lower than 5th in the category. Although the WHIP ratio was not calculated until well after Young's death, Young was the retroactive league leader in this category seven times and was second or third another seven times.[7] Cy Young is tied with Roger Clemens for the most career wins by a Boston Red Sox pitcher. They each won 192 games while with the franchise.[34]

Particularly after his fastball slowed, Young relied upon his control. Young once quoted as saying, "Some may have thought it was essential to know how to curve a ball before anything else. Experience, to my mind, teaches to the contrary. Any young player who has good control will become a successful curve pitcher long before the pitcher who is endeavoring to master both curves and control at the same time. The curve is merely an accessory to control."[16] In addition to his exceptional control, Young was also a workhorse who avoided injury. For nineteen consecutive years, from 1891 through 1909, Cy Young was in his leagues' top ten for innings pitched; in fourteen of the seasons, he was in the top five. Not until 1900, a decade into his career, did Young pitch two consecutive incomplete games.[20] By habit, Young restricted his practice throws in spring training. "I figured the old arm had just so many throws in it," said Young, "and there wasn't any use wasting them." Young once described his approach before a game:

"I never warmed up ten, fifteen minutes before a game like most pitchers do. I'd loosen up, three, four minutes. Five at the outside. And I never went to the bullpen. Oh, I'd relieve all right, plenty of times, but I went right from the bench to the box, and I'd take a few warm-up pitches and be ready. Then I had good control. I aimed to make the batter hit the ball, and I threw as few pitches as possible. That's why I was able to work every other day."[16]

Lineup for Yesterday

Y is for Young
The magnificent Cy;
People batted against him,
But I never knew why.

Ogden Nash, Sport magazine (January 1949)[35]

By the time of his retirement, Young's control had slipped. Young had also gained weight.[11] In three of his last four years, he was the oldest player in the league.[7]

In 1956, about one year after Young's death, The Cy Young Award was created. The first award was given to Brooklyn's Don Newcombe. Originally, it was a single award covering the whole of baseball. The honor was divided into two Cy Young Awards in 1967, one for each league.

On September 23, 1993, a statue dedicated to him was unveiled by Northeastern University on the site of the Red Sox's original stadium, the Huntington Avenue Grounds. It was there that Young had pitched the first game of the 1903 World Series, as well as the first perfect game in the modern era of baseball. A home plate-shaped plaque next to the statue reads:

"On October 1, 1903 the first modern World Series between the American League champion Boston Pilgrims (later known as the Red Sox) and the National League champion Pittsburgh Pirates was played on this site. General admission tickets were fifty cents. The Pilgrims, led by twenty-eight game winner Cy Young, trailed the series three games to one but then swept four consecutive victories to win the championship five games to three."[36]

Statistics

Career statistics:

Hitting

G AB H 2B 3B HR R RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
918 2,960 623 87 35 18 325 290 81 142 .210 .234 .282 .516

Pitching

W L WP GP GS CG Sh SV IP BB SO ERA WHIP PG
511 316 .618 906 815 749 76 17 7354.7 1,217 2,803 2.63 1.130 1

Notes

  • a.^ [a2][a3] Although the phrase "perfect game" appeared in record books as early as 1922, and was a common expression years before that, Major League Baseball did not formalize the definition of a "perfect game" until 1991, long after Young's death. Nonetheless, Young's 1955 obituary also used the phrase.
"An official perfect game occurs when a pitcher (or pitchers) retires each batter on the opposing team during the entire course of a game, which consists of at least nine innings. In a perfect game, no batter reaches any base during the course of the game."[37]
  • b.^ Although not an actual award, many baseball fans and experts call a pitcher who leads his league in wins, strikeouts, and ERA the Triple Crown winner.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Career Leaders for Wins". baseball-almanac.com. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/pitching/piwins2.shtml. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  2. ^ "Innings Pitched Records". baseball-almanac.com. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/recbooks/rb_ip.shtml. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  3. ^ "Games Started Records". baseball-almanac.com. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/recbooks/rb_gams.shtml. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  4. ^ "Complete Games Records". baseball-almanac.com. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/recbooks/rb_gamcg.shtml. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  5. ^ "Games Lost Records". baseball-almanac.com. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/recbooks/loss-records.shtml. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  6. ^ "Pitching Leaders, Career All Time". mlb.com. http://mlb.mlb.com/stats/historical/leaders.jsp?c_id=mlb&baseballScope=mlb&statType=2&sortByStat=SHO&timeFrame=3&timeSubFrame2=0. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "Cy Young Statistics". baseball-reference.com. http://www.baseball-reference.com/y/youngcy01.shtml. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  8. ^ "Baseball's 100 Greatest Players". The Sporting News. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/legendary/lisn100.shtml. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  9. ^ a b c Browning, Reed (2003). Cy Young: A Baseball Life. Univ of Massachusetts Press. ISBN 1558493980. 
  10. ^ a b "Cy Young Biography". CMG Worldwide. http://www.cmgworldwide.com/baseball/young/biography.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-14. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Cy Young : A Life In Baseball". Dr. Donald McKim. baseball-almanac.com. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/dugout0e.shtml. Retrieved 2007-06-23. 
  12. ^ "Cy Young Obituary". The New York Times. 1955-11-05. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/deaths/cy_young_obituary.shtml. Retrieved 2008-07-27. 
  13. ^ "The Ballplayers - Cy Young". baseball-library.com. http://www.baseballlibrary.com/ballplayers/player.php?name=Cy_Young_1867. Retrieved 2008-07-27. 
  14. ^ "1890 Chronology". baseball-library.com. http://www.baseballlibrary.com/chronology/byyear.php?year=1890#August. Retrieved 2008-07-27. 
  15. ^ a b The New Bill James Historical Abstract, Simon & Schuster, 2001, pgs. 410-411
  16. ^ a b c "Cy Young: Quotes". CMG Worldwide. http://www.cmgworldwide.com/baseball/young/quotes.htm. Retrieved 2008-07-27. 
  17. ^ Neyer, Rob; Bill James (June 2004). The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers. Fireside. pp. 496. ISBN 0-7432-6158-5. 
  18. ^ "Of double seasons, Spiders and no fall stakes". Steve Gietschier. The Sporting News. 1993-11-15. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1208/is_n20_v216/ai_14655929. Retrieved 2008-07-27. 
  19. ^ "1896 Chronology". baseball-library.com. http://www.baseballlibrary.com/chronology/byyear.php?year=1896#July. Retrieved 2007-06-23. 
  20. ^ a b "1897 Chronology". baseball-library.com. http://www.baseballlibrary.com/chronology/byyear.php?year=1897#September. Retrieved 2007-06-23. 
  21. ^ "The 1899 Cleveland Spiders". David Fleitz. wcnet.org. http://www.wcnet.org/~dlfleitz/cleve.htm. Retrieved 2008-07-27. 
  22. ^ "Biography:Cy Young". answers.com. http://www.answers.com/topic/cy-young-award. Retrieved 2008-07-27. 
  23. ^ a b "Cy Young from the Chronology". baseball-library.com. http://www.baseballlibrary.com/ballplayers/player.php?. Retrieved 2008-07-27. 
  24. ^ Spright Dowell, A History of Mercer University, 1833-1953 (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University, [1958][1]).
  25. ^ "Hall of Fame profile". baseballhalloffame.org. http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/hofers/detail.jsp?playerId=124692. Retrieved 2007-06-23. 
  26. ^ "Cy Young Perfect Game Box Score". baseball-almanac.com. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/boxscore/05051904.shtml. Retrieved 2008-07-27. 
  27. ^ Elias, p.76, ISBN 0-917050-08-8, Retrieved on 2008-08-03
  28. ^ "Waddell vs Young". By Daniel O’Brien. philadelphiaathletics.org. http://www.philadelphiaathletics.org/history/rubevscy.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-23. 
  29. ^ "Cy Young Day". brainyhistory.com. http://www.brainyhistory.com/events/1908/august_13_1908_72365.html. Retrieved 2006-11-11. 
  30. ^ "Boston Rustlers 1, Pittsburgh Pirates 0". retrosheet.com. http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1911/B09220PIT1911.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  31. ^ "Brooklyn Superbas 13, Boston Rustlers 3 (2)". retrosheet.com. http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1911/B10062BRO1911.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  32. ^ "Cy Young". retrosheet.com. http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/Y/Pyounc102.htm. Retrieved 2006-11-11. 
  33. ^ SABR, p.210, ISBN 978-1-4165-3245-3 Retrieved on 2008-08-03
  34. ^ "Boston Red Sox All-Time Leaders". mlb.com. http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/stats/historical/player_stats.jsp?c_id=bos&baseballScope=BOS&teamPosCode=all&statType=2&sitSplit=&venueID=&timeFrame=3&timeSubFrame2=0&Submit=Submit&timeSubFrame=0&&sortByStat=W. Retrieved 2007-06-25. 
  35. ^ "Line-Up For Yesterday by Ogden Nash". Ogden Nash. Sport Magazine. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/poetry/po_line.shtml. Retrieved 2008-01-23. 
  36. ^ Boston's Pastime. [http://www.bostonspastime.com/stories/huntington.html "Huntington Avenue Grounds: The Pre-Fenway Era"]. http://www.bostonspastime.com/stories/huntington.html. Retrieved 200-05-20. 
  37. ^ "The Official Site of Major League Baseball: Official Info: Rules, regulations and statistics". mlb.com. http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/about_mlb/rules_regulations.jsp. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 

External links

Business positions
Preceded by
Chick Stahl
Boston Red Sox manager
1907
Succeeded by
George Huff
Achievements
Preceded by
John Ewing
National League ERA Champion
1892
Succeeded by
Ted Breitenstein
Preceded by
Bill Hutchison
Amos Rusie
National League Wins Champion
1892 (with Bill Hutchison)
1895
Succeeded by
Frank Killen
Frank Killen & Kid Nichols
Preceded by
Amos Rusie
National League Strikeout Champion
1896
Succeeded by
Doc McJames
Preceded by
First Triple Crown Winner
American League Pitching Triple Crown
1901
Succeeded by
Rube Waddell
Preceded by
First Champion
American League ERA Champion
1901
Succeeded by
Ed Siever
Preceded by
First Champion
American League Strikeout Champion
1901
Succeeded by
Rube Waddell
Preceded by
First Champion
American League Wins Champion
1901-1903
Succeeded by
Jack Chesbro
Records
Preceded by
John Montgomery Ward
Perfect game pitcher
May 5, 1904
Succeeded by
Addie Joss
Preceded by
Bill Hawke
Chick Fraser
Nick Maddox
No-hitter pitcher
September 18, 1897
May 5, 1904
June 30, 1908
Succeeded by
Ted Breitenstein
Jesse Tannehill
Hooks Wiltse

Simple English

Denton True "Cy" Young (March 29, 1867November 4, 1955) was an American baseball player who was a pitcher for five different professional baseball teams from 1890 to 1911. He set many pitching records during his 22-year career in Major League Baseball (MLB), some of which have stood for 100 years. When Young retired from baseball, he had won a total of 511 games in his career, the most in MLB history and 94 more wins than Walter Johnson, who is second on the list.

In 1956, the MLB created the Cy Young Award. The award is given each year to the pitcher who is voted the most effective in each of the two leagues. Young was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939. During his professional career, Young won 30 or more games in a season five times, with ten other seasons of 20+ wins. He also pitched three no-hitters, including the first perfect game of baseball's "modern era."[1]

In addition to wins, Young holds the MLB records for most career innings pitched (7,355), most career games started (815), and most complete games (749). He also retired with 316 losses, the most in MLB history (the only other pitcher with more than 300 career losses was Pud Galvin). Young also had 76 career shutouts, the fourth most in history.

In 1999, 88 years after his final Major League appearance and 44 years after his death, editors at The Sporting News ranked Cy Young 14th on their list of "Baseball's 100 Greatest Players". That same year, baseball fans named Young to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

Contents

Early life

Young was born in Gilmore, Ohio, a farming community located in eastern Ohio. Young went by the name "Dent Young" in his early years.[2] He was raised on a farm and was sometimes called "Farmer Young" and "Farmboy Young". Young stopped going to school after he finished 6th grade. [3]

Professional career

Young began his professional career in 1889 with the Canton, Ohio team of the Tri-State League, a professional minor league. The catcher who warmed up Young gave him the nickname "Cyclone" because of the speed of his fastball. Reporters then shortened the name to "Cy". "Cy" became the nickname he used the rest of his life.[4]

In 1890, Young signed for $500 with the Cleveland Spiders, which had moved up from the American Association to the National League the previous year.

Two years later, the National League moved the pitcher's mound from fifty feet away from the home plate (where it had been since 1881) to sixty feet and six inches. In the book The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers, sports journalist Rob Neyer wrote that the reason for the move was that pitchers like Cy Young, Amos Rusie, and Jouett Meekin threw too fast at the shorter distance.[5]

On September 18, 1897, Young pitched the first no-hitter of his career in a game against the Cincinnati Reds. Although Young did not walk a batter, the Spiders committed four errors while on defense.

Before the 1899 season, Frank Robison, the owner of the Spiders, bought the St. Louis Browns, thus owning two clubs at the same time. Just weeks before the start of the season, most of the better Spiders players were transferred to St. Louis, including three future Hall of Famers: Young, Jesse Burkett and Bobby Wallace.[6] Despite the changes in the team members, St. Louis finished fifth in both 1899 and 1900. The Spiders lost 134 games, the most in MLB history, before folding.

In 1901, Young left St. Louis and joined the American League's Boston Americans for a $3,500 contract. Young stayed with the Boston team until 1909.

Young was traded back to Cleveland before the 1909 season, this time to the Cleveland Naps of the American League. He split 1911, his final year, between the Naps and the Boston Rustlers.

On September 22, 1911, Young shut out the Pittsburgh Pirates and their pitcher Babe Adams 1-0, for his last career win. However, two weeks later, Young's 906th and final game ended badly: the last eight batters of Young's career combined to hit a triple, four singles and three doubles.

Young's legacy

Young retired after the 1911 season with 511 career wins. His win total set the record for most career wins by a pitcher. At the time, Pud Galvin had the second most career wins with 364. Walter Johnson, then in his fourth season, finished his career with 417 wins and is now second on the list. However, Johnson broke Young's career record for strikeouts.

Cy Young's career is seen as a bridge from baseball's earliest days to its modern era. When Young's career began, pitchers delivered the baseball underhand and fouls were not counted as strikes. The pitcher's mound was not moved back to its present position of 60 feet, six inches until Young's fourth season. He did not wear a glove until his sixth.[3]

Particularly after his fastball slowed, Young's success relied upon his great control. Young said:

"Some may have thought it was essential to know how to curve a ball before anything else. Experience, to my mind, teaches to the contrary. Any young player who has good control will become a successful curve pitcher long before the pitcher who is endeavoring to master both curves and control at the same time. The curve is merely an accessory to control."

By habit, Young restricted his practice throws in spring training. "I figured the old arm had just so many throws in it," said Young, "and there wasn't any use wasting them." Young once described his approach before a game:

"I never warmed up ten, fifteen minutes before a game like most pitchers do. I'd loosen up, three, four minutes. Five at the outside. And I never went to the bullpen. Oh, I'd relieve all right, plenty of times, but I went right from the bench to the box, and I'd take a few warm-up pitches and be ready. Then I had good control. I aimed to make the batter hit the ball, and I threw as few pitches as possible. That's why I was able to work every other day."


Young also said that his offseason farming chores, including wood chopping, kept his pitching arm in good shape until he was 44.[7] Even at the time of his retirement, his arm was healthy, but Young had gained weight and was unable to field his position anymore.[8] In three of his last four years, he was the oldest player in the league.

The first Cy Young Award was voted on in 1956, and was given to Brooklyn's Don Newcombe. Originally, it was a single award covering the whole of baseball. The honor was divided into two Cy Young Awards in 1967, one for each league.

Young was saluted in the poem "Lineup for Yesterday" by Ogden Nash:

Y is for Young,
The magnificent Cy;
People batted against him,
But I never knew why.

References

Other websites

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Preceded by
Chick Stahl
Boston Red Sox manager
1907
Succeeded by
George Huff
Achievements
Preceded by
John Ewing
National League ERA Champion
1892
Succeeded by
Ted Breitenstein
Preceded by
Bill Hutchison
Amos Rusie
National League Wins Champion
1892 (with Bill Hutchison)
1895
Succeeded by
Frank Killen
Frank Killen & Kid Nichols
Preceded by
Amos Rusie
National League Strikeout Champion
1896
Succeeded by
Doc McJames
Preceded by
First Triple Crown Winner
American League Pitching Triple Crown
1901
Succeeded by
Rube Waddell
Preceded by
First Champion
American League ERA Champion
1901
Succeeded by
Ed Siever
Preceded by
First Champion
American League Strikeout Champion
1901
Succeeded by
Rube Waddell
Preceded by
First Champion
American League Wins Champion
1901-1903
Succeeded by
Jack Chesbro
Records
Preceded by
John Montgomery Ward
Perfect game pitcher
May 5, 1904
Succeeded by
Addie Joss







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