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  • Cy Young

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.

    Cy Young

    Denton True Young (March 29, 1867 – November 4, 1955) was the pre-eminent baseball pitcher during the 1890s and 1900s. His nickname "Cy" is either short for "Cyclone" (as he himself stated, since barns and fences supposedly showed tornadic damage after encountering one of his pitches) or for a generic term of the time for a farmboy, similar to "Rube".

    Cy Young warming up for Boston in 1908, the first year they were called the "Red Sox"He was born in Gilmore, Ohio, a tiny village near Newcomerstown, Ohio where Young was later raised. He also died in Newcomerstown, where the local park bears his name and a memorial to the pitcher.

    This person is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.Young is generally considered one of the greatest pitchers of all time. Not only is he a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame (elected in 1937), but the Cy Young Award, the annual award given to the best major league pitcher in each league, is named in his honor. From 1956, the first full season after Young's death, until 1966, it was given to the best pitcher in baseball. Starting in 1967, it was given to the best in each league.

    Young set a career record for wins, 511, that will almost certainly never be matched under current conditions. Today, most seasons produce few pitchers with more than 20 wins, at which pace a pitcher would have to pitch for more than 25 years to surpass the record. Young's great longevity means he also holds the record for the most losses, despite winning 62% of his decisions. His unreachable total was echoed one day, when, as he told a reporter many years after his retirement, a man walked up to him, seemed to recognize him, and asked, "Did you used to play baseball?" Young told the reporter that he told the man, "Mister, I won more games than you'll ever see."

    Young began his major league career in 1890 with the Cleveland Spiders and achieved stardom rapidly. He was one of the few star hurlers to maintain his level of success after the pitching mound was moved back to its present 60 feet 6 inches in 1893. He maintained that level for over two decades, playing for the St. Louis Perfectos in 1899 and 1900 (by which time they had become the Cardinals) before jumping to the new American League in 1901 with the Boston Americans, for whom he played through 1908. The Cleveland and St. Louis ownership had essentially swapped teams by trading all the players and neither Cy nor his wife were comfortable in St Louis. He retired after the 1911 season, following 2 seasons with the Cleveland Naps and a year split between the Naps and the Boston Rustlers. His arm was as strong as ever, but, as the somewhat portly pitcher told an interviewer, he could not field bunts as well as he once could, and "when the third baseman has to do my work for me, it's time to quit."

    Cy Young, 1911 baseball cardHe pitched a perfect game on May 5, 1904, against Philadelphia. In later years, he considered this game his greatest day in baseball. It was part of an astonishing performance that resulted in a record for most consecutive scoreless innings and most consecutive no-hit innings, the latter a record that still stands.

    Young's longevity is nearly unique – the injury rate caused by pitching conditions at the turn of the century limited even the most talented to pitching careers that rarely lasted a single decade, let alone two. Pitchers regularly pitched entire games, there being no specialized relievers, and good pitchers were used hard. No modern pitcher ever pitches the number of innings many managed in those days. Only Nolan Ryan, Tommy John, and perhaps Satchel Paige primarily in the Negro Leagues have significantly surpassed Young's number of years pitched. On the other hand, it must be noted that pitchers of that era were expected to complete their games; in consequence, they paced themselves throughout the game and seldom threw as many hard pitches in the early and middle innings as today's pitchers. There was also little danger of home runs being hit and a pitcher could frequently simply throw the pitch down the center of the plate and let the batter hit the ball in play. These circumstances enabled the better pitchers of the day to put up astronomical totals (by modern standards) of complete games and innings pitched and of games won.

    In 1993, Northeastern University unveiled a statue of Young outside one of its athletic complexes, the Cabot Center. The statue stands at roughly the spot where stood the pitcher's mound of the Huntington Avenue Grounds, the home field of the Red Sox in Young's time.

    In 1999, 88 years after his final major league appearance and 44 years after his death, he ranked Number 14 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team, even though he pitched in the last ten seasons of the preceding century.
    Brooks Robinson
    Frank Robinson
    Luis Aparicio
    Robin Roberts
    Reggie Jackson
    Eddie Murray
    Hoyt Wilhelm
    Cal Ripken Jr.
    George Kell
    Earl Weaver
    Jim Palmer
    All Baltimore Orioles' hall of famers.
    P.S. Brooks Robinson was the best!!

  • #2
    His biography that came out a few years ago was very interesting. I recommend it to anyone interested in his career.
    "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
    "You'se Got The Eye Of An Eagle."

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by TonyK
      His biography that came out a few years ago was very interesting. I recommend it to anyone interested in his career.
      Do you happen to know who the author was of this book?

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm not positive, but it is probably the 2000 Biography by Reed Browning. My library carries many baseball player's biographies. Cy Young is probably little known despite winning more games than anyone in ML history. I learned a lot about the game too while reading it.
        "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
        "You'se Got The Eye Of An Eagle."

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks a lot. I'll have to see if I can locate a copy of that.

          Comment


          • #6
            The local park also has the community outdoor pool.
            Dave Bill Tom George Mark Bob Ernie Soupy Dick Alex Sparky
            Joe Gary MCA Emanuel Sonny Dave Earl Stan
            Jonathan Neil Roger Anthony Ray Thomas Art Don
            Gates Philip John Warrior Rik Casey Tony Horace
            Robin Bill Ernie JEDI

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            • #7
              The book was indeed by Reed Browning. A very well written book that did not fawn on hero-worship.

              There are a couple things I'd like to mention. First, is that it can be argued that Young was out-pitched by Kid Nichols in the 1890s. Then, in the early 1900s he was pretty much eclipsed by Christy Mathewson. There are only a few years where it can be argued that Cy Young was the best pitcher in baseball. But this does NOT take away from his greatness.

              Secondly, when MLB decided on an award for the best pitcher in baseball, in the mid-1950s, the two leagues could not agree on a name. After all, the award would go to THE best pitcher whichever league he was in. Only ONE award not two as it is today, one for each league. The AL wanted it named after Walter Johnson while the NL wanted it named after Mathewson.

              Since Cy Young had pitched in both leagues in his time, he was offered as a compromise. Both the AL and NL accepted this. Therefore the Cy Young Award was born. Don Newcombe of the Brooklyn Dodgers won the first CYA.

              Several years later the two leagues decided to award the best pitcher of each individual league. The 'Cy Young Award' had by now become famous. The leagues decided to keep the name, awarding an AL CYA and a NL CYA.

              This has led many less knowlegeable and 'new' fans to consider that Cy Young must have been the greatest pitcher in baseball history since they name the award after him.
              Not many knowlegeable baseball historians will rank Young over the Big Train and many, if not most, rank Mathewson ahead of him as well. Lefty Grove and Pete Alexander are generally ranked ahead of Cy as well in most polls.

              One more thing. Cy Young pitched forever racking up 511 wins. Very impressive both in his longevity and his winning percentage. But are you also aware that he has lost more games than anyone in his career as well.

              This is not meant as a knock at Cy Young. Far from it. I usually have him ranked at #5 (behind those I mentioned earlier) He was great but we need to look at him in perspective, not let his 'legend' become more than it was.

              Yankees Fan Since 1957

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by yanks0714
                The book was indeed by Reed Browning. A very well written book that did not fawn on hero-worship.

                There are a couple things I'd like to mention. First, is that it can be argued that Young was out-pitched by Kid Nichols in the 1890s. Then, in the early 1900s he was pretty much eclipsed by Christy Mathewson. There are only a few years where it can be argued that Cy Young was the best pitcher in baseball. But this does NOT take away from his greatness.
                The fact that he is even put in the same breath as Nichols and Mathewson to me states alot about his career. If he was good enough to span two generations of the game in two different leagues and on some of the worst teams in history, he deserves alot of respect and acclaim. Add to that the fact that he had so many wins and also so many losses over the span of his career says another thing: he was consistantly good. Maybe not the best guy pitching at the begining or at the end, but there were alot of years where hands down he was the best.

                One thing you can note about the people stated as being better- someone had to set the bar for those guys.
                Last edited by efin98; 12-17-2005, 12:28 PM.
                Best posts ever:
                Originally posted by nymdan
                Too... much... math... head... hurts...
                Originally posted by RuthMayBond
                I understand, I lost all my marbles years ago

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                • #9
                  I didn't know that about how the award was named. Young will probably be linked with Hank Aaron - the one with the most home runs and the one with the most wins, but neither considered as the best hitter or pitcher of all time.
                  "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
                  "You'se Got The Eye Of An Eagle."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by yanks0714
                    There are only a few years where it can be argued that Cy Young was the best pitcher in baseball.
                    Perhaps but he was frequently among the top 3 or so, and he was best in his league in '92 and '01-03

                    <many, if not most, rank Mathewson ahead of him as well. >

                    That's very unfortunate
                    Mythical SF Chronicle scouting report: "That Jeff runs like a deer. Unfortunately, he also hits AND throws like one." I am Venus DeMilo - NO ARM! I can play like a big leaguer, I can field like Luzinski, run like Lombardi. The secret to managing is keeping the ones who hate you away from the undecided ones. I am a triumph of quantity over quality. I'm almost useful, every village needs an idiot.
                    Good traders: MadHatter(2), BoofBonser26, StormSurge

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by yanks0714
                      The book was indeed by Reed Browning. A very well written book that did not fawn on hero-worship.

                      There are a couple things I'd like to mention. First, is that it can be argued that Young was out-pitched by Kid Nichols in the 1890s. Then, in the early 1900s he was pretty much eclipsed by Christy Mathewson. There are only a few years where it can be argued that Cy Young was the best pitcher in baseball. But this does NOT take away from his greatness.

                      This has led many less knowlegeable and 'new' fans to consider that Cy Young must have been the greatest pitcher in baseball history since they name the award after him.

                      Not many knowlegeable baseball historians will rank Young over the Big Train and many, if not most, rank Mathewson ahead of him as well. Lefty Grove and Pete Alexander are generally ranked ahead of Cy as well in most polls.

                      One more thing. Cy Young pitched forever racking up 511 wins. Very impressive both in his longevity and his winning percentage. But are you also aware that he has lost more games than anyone in his career as well.

                      This is not meant as a knock at Cy Young. Far from it. I usually have him ranked at #5 (behind those I mentioned earlier) He was great but we need to look at him in perspective, not let his 'legend' become more than it was.
                      Very nice post- I didn't know about the AL-NL debate of the 50's regarding who was to bestowed with the honor of the eponymous "best pitcher" award.

                      I'd like to present some evidence to the contrary. I understand you're not out to denigrate Young, but I also think you're underrating him at the same time.

                      Here are two outstanding, insightful posts regarding Cy Young's place in the alltime eschelon of greats. I'll give credit to Leecemark and Dave Kent (wrgptfan) in advance for the time and effort they put into these.

                      http://www.baseball-fever.com/showpo...6&postcount=16

                      http://www.baseball-fever.com/showpo...3&postcount=12

                      I think the idea that Cy Young was only the best pitcher in his league a couple times is inaccurate. I'm as big a Nichols supporter as you'll find, but look at the records of Kid's teams during the 1890's, then look at Young's. The Braves won 4 championships during Kid's tenure in Boston, also finishing second in 1892 and 1899.

                      Both pitchers had poor run support over the course of their careers, however Nichols was on tremendous defensive teams during his prime- Young's were pretty mediocre overall.

                      In any event, Cy Young is very much like Hank Aaron- overrated by the general public, but underrated by many aficionados.

                      Young was probably the best pitcher in baseball in 1892, 1896, and possibly 1899, and miles ahead of anyone in 1901, 1902, and 1903. He was on some HORRENDOUS Boston teams after that, but rebounded to put together an incredible 1908 campaign 1.26 ERA in 299 innings!!! This is after logging 7000 innings onto his arm!!!

                      Young dominated no matter what the conditions were- the insane 1890's without the foull strike rule, or the deadball era where everything was thrown in reverse. Young has an argument to STILL be deemed the greatest pitcher ever, and there's no way he should be any lower than #4 alltime.

                      The Cy Young award isn't a misnomer.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by csh19792001
                        Very nice post- I didn't know about the AL-NL debate of the 50's regarding who was to bestowed with the honor of the eponymous "best pitcher" award.

                        I'd like to present some evidence to the contrary. I understand you're not out to denigrate Young, but I also think you're underrating him at the same time.

                        Here are two outstanding, insightful posts regarding Cy Young's place in the alltime eschelon of greats. I'll give credit to Leecemark and Dave Kent (wrgptfan) in advance for the time and effort they put into these.

                        http://www.baseball-fever.com/showpo...6&postcount=16

                        http://www.baseball-fever.com/showpo...3&postcount=12

                        I think the idea that Cy Young was only the best pitcher in his league a couple times is inaccurate. I'm as big a Nichols supporter as you'll find, but look at the records of Kid's teams during the 1890's, then look at Young's. The Braves won 4 championships during Kid's tenure in Boston, also finishing second in 1892 and 1899.

                        Both pitchers had poor run support over the course of their careers, however Nichols was on tremendous defensive teams during his prime- Young's were pretty mediocre overall.

                        In any event, Cy Young is very much like Hank Aaron- overrated by the general public, but underrated by many aficionados.

                        Young was probably the best pitcher in baseball in 1892, 1896, and possibly 1899, and miles ahead of anyone in 1901, 1902, and 1903. He was on some HORRENDOUS Boston teams after that, but rebounded to put together an incredible 1908 campaign 1.26 ERA in 299 innings!!! This is after logging 7000 innings onto his arm!!!

                        Young dominated no matter what the conditions were- the insane 1890's without the foull strike rule, or the deadball era where everything was thrown in reverse. Young has an argument to STILL be deemed the greatest pitcher ever, and there's no way he should be any lower than #4 alltime.

                        The Cy Young award isn't a misnomer.
                        Thanks for the links. I found them to very interesting and edcuational.

                        As you mention, in no way am I attempting to denigrate Cy Young. He was great for a very, very long period of time. Considering how many years he pitched, how many games, the amount of pitches putting strain on his arm is incredible. Most of today's pitchers would blanch at the thought of pitching that much. Cy was a freak of nature to be able to accomplish that.

                        Not sure how I am underrating him by having him behind only Johnson, Grove, Alexander and Mathewson. Perhaps you are one of those who have him ahead of Christy when you say no lower than 4th?

                        I agree that Nichols pitched on better teams. I also feel Kid out-pitched Cy for the most part regardless of their respective teammate support. If any pitcher from that era is underrated {and pretty much forgotten} it's Kid Nichols.

                        As for whether CYA is a misnomer, if it was kept as only one pitcher winning the award each season as originally concieved I could agree with you.

                        But my opinion is that the AL should award their best pitcher the 'Big Train Award' and the NL should provide the 'Old Pete Award. Needless to say, I rank Alexander over Mathewson.

                        Yankees Fan Since 1957

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by yanks0714
                          Thanks for the links. I found them to very interesting and edcuational.

                          As you mention, in no way am I attempting to denigrate Cy Young. He was great for a very, very long period of time. Considering how many years he pitched, how many games, the amount of pitches putting strain on his arm is incredible. Most of today's pitchers would blanch at the thought of pitching that much. Cy was a freak of nature to be able to accomplish that.

                          Not sure how I am underrating him by having him behind only Johnson, Grove, Alexander and Mathewson. Perhaps you are one of those who have him ahead of Christy when you say no lower than 4th?

                          I agree that Nichols pitched on better teams. I also feel Kid out-pitched Cy for the most part regardless of their respective teammate support. If any pitcher from that era is underrated {and pretty much forgotten} it's Kid Nichols.

                          As for whether CYA is a misnomer, if it was kept as only one pitcher winning the award each season as originally concieved I could agree with you.

                          But my opinion is that the AL should award their best pitcher the 'Big Train Award' and the NL should provide the 'Old Pete Award. Needless to say, I rank Alexander over Mathewson.
                          I rank Pete ahead of Matty also. I think your award choice names are very apt actually, given that the award is bestowed on one pitcher in both leagues. Very interesting idea, and I like it.

                          As to Young being ranked behind Walter Johnson, I agree. Johnson was arguably the greatest pitcher ever, even given that 80 years have passed since his retirement.

                          I also agree that Nichols is one of the most underrated and forgotten figures in baseball history. Ironically, I'm probably his biggest advocate at this site, and if he gets elected on our current ballot over at the history forum (we're up to #13, and it's a close one), I'll take some pride in knowing I gave him so much press and (due) accolades. I've put a ton of effort into it.

                          That said, IMHO, there isn't really any valid rationale to rank either Matty or Alexander ahead of Young. Well, there might be, but I haven't heard the case made. As Dave Kent showed, Young somehow managed to compile both the quality and quantity of two Hall of Fame pitchers combined, Mathewson and Joss.

                          As to Lefty Grove, well, I always had the inkling that he was overrated. Now I know he was.

                          Grove was held back from pitching against the best teams in the AL during his prime by Connie Mack, who coddled him, befitting of his spoiled brat persona. If you have any doubts, I provided the link to that discussion is provided below. Would anyone consider that Wes Ferrell was a better pitcher than Lefty Grove from 1929-36? Well, I for one would, now that I've learned more about the context which produced their numbers. Grove's quality numbers during his peak are greatly inflated as a result of consistently being started against subpar teams, while being held back against the best teams (most notably the Yankees).

                          http://www.baseball-fever.com/showth...t=32572&page=2

                          Check out the thread above from post #31 on, pointing towards post #35 and #37 in particular. WJackman authored a biography on the Ferrell ballplayers, and needless to say, he's proven that Wes Ferrell was much greater than he's perceived to be.

                          In a broader sense, though, what WJackman demonstrated on that thread is that numbers frequently lie, especially when looking at them out of context (as we do in an encyclopedia or online) many decades later.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by csh19792001
                            I rank Pete ahead of Matty also. I think your award choice names are very apt actually, given that the award is bestowed on one pitcher in both leagues. Very interesting idea, and I like it.

                            As to Young being ranked behind Walter Johnson, I agree. Johnson was arguably the greatest pitcher ever, even given that 80 years have passed since his retirement.

                            I also agree that Nichols is one of the most underrated and forgotten figures in baseball history. Ironically, I'm probably his biggest advocate at this site, and if he gets elected on our current ballot over at the history forum (we're up to #13, and it's a close one), I'll take some pride in knowing I gave him so much press and (due) accolades. I've put a ton of effort into it.

                            That said, IMHO, there isn't really any valid rationale to rank either Matty or Alexander ahead of Young. Well, there might be, but I haven't heard the case made. As Dave Kent showed, Young somehow managed to compile both the quality and quantity of two Hall of Fame pitchers combined, Mathewson and Joss.

                            As to Lefty Grove, well, I always had the inkling that he was overrated. Now I know he was.

                            Grove was held back from pitching against the best teams in the AL during his prime by Connie Mack, who coddled him, befitting of his spoiled brat persona. If you have any doubts, I provided the link to that discussion is provided below. Would anyone consider that Wes Ferrell was a better pitcher than Lefty Grove from 1929-36? Well, I for one would, now that I've learned more about the context which produced their numbers. Grove's quality numbers during his peak are greatly inflated as a result of consistently being started against subpar teams, while being held back against the best teams (most notably the Yankees).

                            http://www.baseball-fever.com/showth...t=32572&page=2

                            Check out the thread above from post #31 on, pointing towards post #35 and #37 in particular. WJackman authored a biography on the Ferrell ballplayers, and needless to say, he's proven that Wes Ferrell was much greater than he's perceived to be.

                            In a broader sense, though, what WJackman demonstrated on that thread is that numbers frequently lie, especially when looking at them out of context (as we do in an encyclopedia or online) many decades later.
                            I've had Nichols at #3 this time in that poll, behind Bob Gibson and Juan Marichal. Juan, in particular, is underrated mainly because he was a direct contemp of Gibby and Sandy Koufax. Marichal had a better career than Sandy did and I don't think his peak is as far behind Koufax as some believe. Koufax benefited greatly from Dodger Stadium. Take a look at his home/road splits.

                            I wonder what people would think if it was the KNA, Kid Nichols Award, instead of the CYA? Would Cy have been forgotten then? Probably not because of his 511 wins.

                            I heard that before about Lefty Grove, that he avoided the better teams, especially the Yankees. I once saw a breakdown of all his starts over a couple seasons. He did face the Yankees, with reasonable success, but there were several series where he did not pitch that left me wondering. Part of the reason is that Connie Mack used Lefty (and to a lesser extent George Earnshaw) in relief quite a bit. I cannot determine whether Lefty may have missed out on starts because he had pitched in relief since his last start.
                            I give Lefty the edge at #2 because of his dominance in the better league during a huge offensive era. What he did in that high scoring era, late 20s and early 30s, has always been very impressive to me.

                            As for Wes Ferrell was an excellent pitcher who unfortunately played on some bad teams. If he had pitched for better teams which would have improved his winning percentage I think he would have been a HOF'er by now. He was a battler, never giving in, and went right after the hitter. He had a terrible temper though that cost him quite a bit. BTW, Wes may very well have been the best hitting pitcher of the modern era.

                            Yankees Fan Since 1957

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              lefty grove pitched in a much harder era than most of the guys mentioned here - to me that catapults him to the top of the list

                              fergie jenkins is overlooked during the 1960s-70s

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