Tuesday, May 20, 2014

"HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 1970'S" #11: CY YOUNG'S IN BOTH LEAGUES FOR GAYLORD PERRY

Remember when winning or leading anything in BOTH leagues was something to be in awe over?
Hitting 30 homers in both leagues, leading both leagues in a statistical category, and especially winning an award in both the American and National League.
Well before players started jumping from team to team in the '90's and 00's, Gaylord Perry's feat of winning a Cy Young Award in both leagues was quite an accomplishment, and it was one of those things I was really impressed with.
So allow me to present my design for a 1979 Topps card celebrating this special achievement:


Before Pedro, Randy and Roger came along inn a different baseball world, Gaylord Perry's Cy Young wins in 1972 and 1978 were quite special.
It was actually up there with Frank Robinson winning the Most Valuable Player award in both leagues, and I wish Topps would have "spiced up" the otherwise boring 1979 set with a card like this.
Pitching in his first season for Cleveland in 1972 after about ten years in San Francisco, Perry delivered, as he posted a record of 24-16 with a sparkling 1.92 E.R.A., five shutouts and 234 strikeouts for a second to last place team.
But those stellar numbers were enough for the baseball writers to award him the top pitching prize, as well as finishing in sixth place for A.L. Most Valuable Player.
Fast forward six years and we now have Perry pitching for the San Diego Padres (after three years as a Texas Ranger), and Perry once again delivered for his new team, going 21-6 with a 2.73 E.R.A. and 154 strikeouts, once again being selected as the top pitcher in his league, this time the National League, becoming the first to pull off the feat in the award's 23 year existence at the time.
Not until Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson both coincidentally won the Cy Young in 1999, marking a win in both leagues for the both of them (Pedro in 1997 for the Expos and '99 for the Red Sox while Randy first won the award in 1995 with the Mariners and then '99 with the Diamondbacks), would another pitcher come along and duplicate Perry's performance.
We can now add Roger Clemens and Roy Halladay to the group, as Clemens won the award seven times (3x with the Red Sox, twice with the Blue Jays, once each with the Yankees and Astros) and Halladay twice (Blue Jays and Phillies).
Nevertheless, Perry being the inaugural member of this club was worthy of a special card in my book, so I'm glad I got to design one, albeit 35 years later!

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