Wednesday, April 16, 2014

1975 "CY YOUNG AWARD" SUB-SET: WHAT IF? 1964

Next up on my imagined 1975 Cy Young sub-set s the 1964 season and we are now fully entrenched in the Koufax-era, even though he didn't take home the award that season because of limited playing time.
The actual winner of the award was Angels pitcher Dean Chance, who had his peak season that year, while Koufax would have won the award had there been a selection for both leagues at the time.
First up, my card design:


As I mentioned yesterday for my "all-decade" card featuring Chance, 1964 was the culmination of his relatively short 11-year career, going 20-9 with a fantastic 1.65 earned run average largely based on his 11 shutouts in 35 starts. He even appeared in another 11 games, earning four saves in the process.
The rest of his numbers were good ones: a league-leading 15 complete games and 278.1 innings pitched, 207 strikeouts, a .690 winning percentage, and he only gave up 7 homers and 51 earned runs all season long.
So when Cy Young voting came around, writers easily picked him over Chicago Cub hurler Larry Jackson and Koufax, garnering 17 of 20 first place votes.
He'd go on to have a few more good seasons with the Angels and Twins, but would be out of the game by 1971 at the young age of 30.
Ironically, the player the folks at SABR picked to be the "assumed" winner of the National League Cy Young Award was another guy who was out of the Majors by the age of 30, Koufax.
It's incredible to think that during his run of dominance in the game from 1963 to 1966, this season would be his "down" year.
Ha! A year that saw him go 19-5 with a 1.74 E.R.A., a .792 winning percentage, seven shutouts and 223 strikeouts, all but the K's being league-leading numbers.
Problem was that Koufax's season was cut short after a start in August because of what was diagnosed as "traumatic arthritis", so missing out on the last month and a half of the season EASILY cost him a Cy Young, which would have made four in a row to close out his career, and adding to the legend of one of the most fantastic runs of success on the mound the game has ever seen before or since.
It IS amazing to realize that of the three pitching "Triple Crown" categories: wins, E.R.A., and strikeouts, between 1963-1966, Koufax lead the league 10 of twelve times!
Only his wins and strikeouts from 1964 would prevent a clean sweep.
The man was almost unstoppable.
Next up on this thread: 1965, and low-and-behold, another Sandy Koufax appearance, taking the award home for the second time, with the American League's Jim Grant getting picked by SABR as the pitcher most likely to have won if today's voting process was in place then.
Stay tuned…

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