Tuesday, March 18, 2014

1975 "CY YOUNG AWARD" SUB-SET: WHAT IF? 1960

Today we move into a new decade regarding my 1975 Topps "Cy Young Award" sub-set based on the popular M.V.P. Sub-set of the same year.
1960 was not only the dawn of a new decade, but the dawn of a new era in baseball, with new stars popping up and staking their claim to fame in the sport.
The outright Cy Young winner that year ended up being a "new" name of sorts, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Vern Law, who guided the Bucs to the World Series and an eventual shocking win against the heavily favored New York Yankees on the now legendary Bill Mazeroski home run in the seventh and final game.
Over in the American League, the people at SABR felt that relative newcomer Jim Perry (brother of future Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry, and eventual Cy Young winner himself in 1970) would have taken home the award had there been winners in EAXCH league at the time.
First up, my card design for the card as part of my imagined 1975 sub-set:


Although Vern Law was already beginning his ninth season as a big-league pitcher when 1960 broke, it was only in the past two seasons that he established himself as a solid starter, winning 14 and 18 games respectively in 1958 & 1959.
He'd carry that success right into the 1960 season, ending up as the anchor of the Pirate staff, going 20-9 with a 3.08 E.R.A., along with a league-leading 18 complete games and 120 strikeouts with three shutouts in 35 starts.
Personally, I think St. Louis Cardinal pitcher Ernie Broglio had a better season on the mound, but it wouldn't be the first time that an award was influenced by a team reaching the post-season (something they say doesn't factor in awards voting).
Regardless, Law would end up a solid starter for the rest of his 16-year career, retiring after the 1967 season, all for Pittsburgh.
In the American League, it's fun to see a "rookie" card in this card design, as Jim Perry finished second in 1959 for A.L. Rookie of the Year, going 12-10 with a nifty 2.65 E.R.A. pitching for the Cleveland Indians.
1960 would also be somewhat successful for him, ending the year with an 18-10 record, the win total pacing the Junior Circuit, with a high 3.62 earned run average and league-leading four shutouts and 120 strikeouts.
While those numbers don't seem to jump off the page, 1960 didn't have a pitcher in the American League who posted stellar stats.
Nowadays you could make an argument for Jim Bunning winning the award, even with a losing record of 11-14.
Besides that record, he had better numbers than other hurlers in the A.L., based on his 2.79 E.R.A., 201 strikeouts and three shutouts.
But alas, we'll never know who would have won the American League Cy Young, as the voting wasn't yet set up that way until 1967, where there'd be a winner for each league.
Next up, 1961, which saw Whitey Ford win his only Cy Young Award, while in the National League, Warren Spahn would have almost assuredly taken home the award at the ripe old age of 40!
Keep an eye out for it…

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