Friday, April 4, 2014

1975 "CY YOUNG AWARD" SUB-SET: WHAT IF? 1962

The Dodgers and Yankees had the Most Valuable Players in their respective leagues in 1962, and if the people at SABR have anything to do with it, the two teams would also have the Cy Young winners as well.
As we all know, Dodger great Don Drysdale went on to win the award that season, when it was only given to one pitcher instead of one in each league.
But according to a great article from 1993 in a SABR journal, the consensus winner in the American League would have been Yankee pitcher Ralph Terry.
First take a look at my card design for the 1962 entry in my imagined 1975 sub-set:


For Terry, he finally seemed to put it all together in 1962 after six seasons in the big leagues, going 23-12 with a 3.19 earned run average in a league-leading 39 starts.
The previous year he had his first truly successful year in the big leagues, going 16-3 for the Yanks. But it was 1962 that would be the pinnacle of his 12 year career.
In addition to the stats mentioned, he also led the American League in innings pitched with 298.2, getting him selected for his only All-Star game and a 14th-place finish in M.V.P. voting at the end of the year.
He would also end up being voted most valuable player of the World Series, as he won two games against the San Francisco Giants, most importantly, a 1-0 shutout win in Game 7 with Willie McCovey famously lining out to second baseman Bobby Richardson with the winning runs on base.
This would atone for his "other" well known World Series moment: giving up Bill Mazeroski's 7th-game/ninth-inning home run to win the series for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1960.
Terry would wind up his career after the 1967 season with the New York Mets, posting a 107-99 record with a 3.62 E.R.A in 257 starts and 338 games.
As for the actual winner of the Cy Young in 1962, Don Drysdale, he was already a feared star on the mound for the Dodgers by the time he really got it all together in '62.
But that year he was simply awesome, posting a leading 25-9 record with a 2.83 E.R.A. and a league-leading 232 strikeouts over 41 starts (also tops in the N.L.).
Though the Dodgers fell just short of the World Series that year, they'd be vindicated the following year with the arrival of one of the all-time best one-two punches on a Major League mound: Drysdale and the emergence of a guy named Sandy Koufax (you'll be seeing a lot of his on this thread over the next few weeks!).
The Dodgers would go on to sweep the Yankees in the World Series in 1963, but Drysdale would be taking a back-seat to Koufax as the ace of the Dodger staff.
But 1962 would be Drysdale's year, easily distancing from the rest of the pack in Cy Young voting, getting 14 of 20 votes to beat out Giants pitcher Jack Sanford.
By the time "Big D" was done, he'd retire at the young age of 32 with a 209 and 166 record, 49 shutouts, a 2.95 E.R.A.,  and 2486 strikeouts.
It took him a while, but he finally got voted into the Hall of Fame in 1984, though many consider him a borderline Hall of Fame member at best (like Catfish Hunter among others).
Next up, 1963 and the beginning of the "Sandy Koufax Era". The man was simply unstoppable from 1963 through 1966.
If only we could have seen him pitch into the 1970's. Boy oh boy…
In the A.L., it was pretty clear that the winner would have been Whitey Ford had they given the award for both leagues at the time.
See you then…

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