Wednesday, January 22, 2014

1975 "CY YOUNG AWARD" SUB-SET: WHAT IF? 1954

Continuing on my thread of an imagined 1975 "Cy Young Award" sub-set, like Topps' Most valuable Player sub-set, we come to 1954, and the two pitchers who members of SABR thought would have own the award had there been one at the time: Bob Lemon in the American League and  Johnny Antonelli in the National League. 
As I've explained earlier, around 1993 SABR issued a journal that contained a great article that wondered who would have won the Cy Young Award between 1901 and 1955 in each league had it existed, as well as a winner for the league NOT represented between 1956-1966 when the award was only given to one pitcher.
Today we take a look at who the SABR article called out for 1954, and while the A.L. "winner" was a long-time winning veteran for the Cleveland Indians, the other was an up-and-comer for the New York Giants.
But before we look at the players themselves, let's take a look at the 1975 "card" representing the 1954 season:


If you haven't already realized, Bob Lemon didn't have a card issued by Topps in 1954, as he was represented in Bowman's black-and-white set instead.
So first, I had to create a 1954 Topps card for Lemon before I dropped it into the '75 sub-set card.
Here's a closer look at my design for the '54 Lemon card:


By the time 1954 came around, Lemon was pitching in his ninth Major League season, and was already a five-time 20-game winner.
But 1954 was arguably his finest yet, as he lead the powerful 111-game winning Cleveland team to a pennant by posting a record of 23-7 along with a 2.72 earned run average.
He completed 21 of his 33 starts and threw two shutouts in 258.1 innings, and teamed up with Early Wynn, Mike Garcia, Art Houtemann and Bob Feller to form one of the all-time best pitching staffs the game has ever seen.
Combined those starters went 93-38!
For his troubles Lemon ended up fifth in Most Valuable Player voting, and I have no problem with the guys at SABR picking Lemon as the probable winner for the A.L. that year.

Over in the National League, THEIR pennant winning team (and eventual World Champs) New York Giants had their staff anchored by SABR's pick for the N.L. Cy Young, a young 24-year old fireballer out of Rochester, New York, Johnny Antonelli.
Pitching in only his second full Major League season, Antonelli shined big-time, as he posted a league-leading 21 wins against only seven losses along with the best E.R.A. in the league at 2.30.
He also topped the National League with six shutouts and finished third at the end of the year in M.V.P. Voting.
Antonelli went on to have a decent 12-year career, ending up with a 126-110 record with an E.R.A. title and a couple of 20-win seasons (along with a 19-win year in 1959).
Next up on this thread: 1955 and TWO custom cards I designed for the "winners" portrayed on the "virtual" 1975 Cy Young Award sub-set card for that season: Whitey Ford and Robin Roberts.
If you're enjoying this thread, watch for it next week. Thanks.

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