Friday, March 7, 2014

1975 "CY YOUNG AWARD" SUB-SET: WHAT IF? 1959

Next up on my 1975 "Cy Young Award" thread is the 1959 season, with Early Wynn of the Chicago White Sox as the actual winner when the award was only given to one player, and Sam Jones of the St. Louis Cardinals as the supposed National League winner according to the folks at SABR.
Take a look at my card design first:


Early Wynn was already a long time veteran by the time the 1959 season came along, and even at the age of 39 he still had a lot left in the tank.
Pitching in his second season for the White Sox, Wynn lead them to the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, going 22-10 with a 3.17 E.R.A with five shutouts over a league-leading 255.2 innings.
Not bad for a guy who first appeared on a Major League mound 20 years earlier as a 19-year old for the Washington Senators.
Wynn would eventually reach that magical 300th win in 1963, retiring soon after, ending his career with a 300-244 record and a Hall of Fame induction in 1972.
At the height of his career he was a member of perhaps one of the best pitching staffs in baseball history with the Cleveland Indians of the 1950's. This was a staff that featured two other future Hall of Famers: Bob Lemon and Bob Feller, as well as star Mike Garcia, along with other productive arms like Herb Score, Art Houtteman, and in a part time role as he was closing out his career, Hal Newhouser.
Sadly for the Indians, they would constantly have to take a back seat to the Yankee dynasty of the decade, only managing to end up at the top in 1954 when they set the then American League record of 111 wins on their way to a World Series loss to the New York Giants.
Over in the National League, in a year where no one pitcher took the lead and dominated, we have Sam Jones posting up solid numbers in his first year pitching for the San Francisco Giants after being traded from the Cardinals (hence the fact that he's shown as a Cardinal on the 1959 Topps card), leading to a probable Cy Young win for him in the N.L. had they selected a winner for each league back then.
For the year, Jones posted a record of 21-15, leading the league in wins, along with a league-leading 2.83 earned run average and four shutouts to go along with 209 strikeouts.
He even managed to tack on four saves during the year as he appeared in 50 games, with 35 of them being starts.
1959 was easily the best season of Jones' career, but he did have one more good year in 1960 as he posted an 18-14 record with a 3.19 earned run average, three shutouts and 190 strikeouts.
After that he patched together four more years with the Giants, Tigers, Cardinals and Orioles before retiring after the 1964 season.
During his career Jones lead the National League in strikeouts three times, with a high of 225 in 1958 with the Cardinals, but also lead the league in walks four times, with a whopping high of 185 in 1955 while hurling for the Chicago Cubs.
By the time he retired he had a final record of 102-101 with a 3.59 E.R.A and 1376 K's in only 1643.1 inning s pitched.
Next on this thread we move into the 1960's, and have the actual Cy Young winner that year, Vern Law of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the proposed American League winner, Jim Perry, brother of future Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry.
Keep an eye out for it.

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