Friday, April 11, 2014

1975 "CY YOUNG AWARD" SUB-SET: WHAT IF? 1963

Today's post regarding my imagines 1975 Cy Young Award sub-set brings us to the 1963 season, and the beginning of the Sandy Koufax era.
Let's take a look at my card design first:


Before we praise the "Left Arm of God", let's take a look at whom the people at SABR figured would win the American League Cy Young Award had there been such a vote in place at the time, Yankees great Whitey Ford.
Having won the award himself just a couple of years earlier in 1961, Ford posted another awesome season in 1963, ending up with a 24-7 record to go along with a 2.74 earned run average and 189 strikeouts.
The effort got him a third place finish in M.V.P. voting, and easily would have gotten him another Cy Young to go with it.
Besides the league-leading win total, Ford also led in starts with 37 and innings pitched with 269.1, with 13 complete games and three shutouts. He also had a save in there as well.
Ironically enough his 1964 season would actually be better even though his won-loss record was 17-6, as he posted a career high eight shutouts with a sparkling 2.13 earned run average with 172 K's. 
It was to be his last great season of his career, as Ford tailed off between 1965 and 1967, hanging them up after that year.
In the National League, we take a look at who did win the award, and would win the award three of the next four years, and easily four of four had there been an award for both leagues in place then: Dodger great Sandy Koufax.
1963 would be the first year in a dominating run that I can honestly say wasn't matched until a guy named Pedro Martinez came along in the late-90's.
Let's look at the numbers shall we: 25-5 record, 1.88 E.R.A., 11 shutouts and 306 strikeouts. Incredible!
Throw in a league-leading 0.875 WHIP, 6.2 hits-per-nine-innings and an amazing 5.28 K's to walks ratio (which is incredible considering how wild Koufax was the first half of his career), and you have not just a Cy Young Award season, but a Most Valuable Player season, which is what he also took home that year.
What a run Koufax had between 1963 and 1966. He led the league in wins three times, E.R.A. four times, winning percentage twice, shutouts three times, strikeouts three times, and took home three Cy Young Awards, and an M.V.P. Award, while finishing in second place in both 1965 & 1966.
Man if only we could have seen where his career totals would have been had he been able to pitch an extra four or five years before retiring.
Sadly at the ripe old age of 30, Koufax was forced to retire because of arm trouble, leaving us with those "what-if's" that will never go away, along the lines of the Ted Williams, Bob Feller and Stan Musial military years.
Next up, the 1964 season with Dean Chance, the actual award winner, and of course, Mr. Koufax…

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