Wednesday, February 26, 2014

1975 "CY YOUNG AWARD" SUB-SET: WHAT IF? 1958

We're up to 1958 on my thread imagining a 1975 Topps sub-set featuring all Cy Young Award winners since the company's inception in 1951, just like their sub-set during the same year of Most Valuable Players.
Two of the fun aspects of doing this thread are: designing cards for players that originally were not issued by Topps that year, and "awarding" the Cy to pitchers from the league that didn't have a winner between 1956 and 1966 based on a old SABR article in 1993.
So with that, take a look at my 1975 "1958 Cy Young Award" card design:


For the American League we have the "gimmie", as New York Yankee hurler Bob Turley actually did win the award in 1958.
That season it all came together for Turley, who was in his seventh season in the big leagues.
In his fourth season pitching for the Yanks after three with St. Louis/Baltimore, Turley handed in his finest performance in the Majors, going 21-7 with a 2.97 earned run average and 168 strikeouts, leading the Yankees to the World Series and avenging a loss the previous year to the Milwaukee Braves.
For good measure Turley would also end up second in Most Valuable Player voting behind Jackie Jensen, leading the league in wins, winning percentage, complete games and hits-per-nine-innings.
Sadly for Turley he'd never come close to that performance again, as he'd never again reach double-digits in wins through the next five years of his career before hanging them up after the 1963 season split between the Angels and Red Sox.
Over in the National League, we could have had the first pitcher to win three Cy Young Awards had today's selection practice been in place back then, as the guys at SABR selected Warren Spahn, the previous year's winner of the award, as their N.L. recipient.
Spahn was actually just edged out by Turley in the 1958 voting, losing the award by one vote, 5-4.
So needless to say he easily would have won his third Cy Young Award (1953 and 1957 being the others) beating out Sandy Koufax by about ten years as the first to rake in three such trophies.
The 1958 season for Spahn was more of the same for the lefty, as he posted a 22-11 record with a 3.07 earned run average and 150 strikeouts. 
He'd lead the N.L. in wins, winning percentage, complete games, innings pitched, and WHIP, getting named to his 10th All-Star game.
The guy was 37 years old this year, and he STILL had another four 20-win seasons left in that amazing arm of his.
Next up, 1959, with the actual winner Early Wynn for the "Go-Go" Chicago White Sox, and SABR's pick in the National League: Sam Jones of the San Francisco Giants.

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