Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Next up on my 1975 Cy Young Award sub-set thread is 1961, and the year Whitey Ford finally took home the award.
Seems everything went right for the Yankees that year, and Ford was either the beneficiary of all that stuff going right, or a heavy reason WHY it all went that way.
For the National League, the fine folks over at SABR felt that none other than Warren Spahn would have won what would have been his third award had there been a winner for each league back then.
Take a look at my card design for 1961 first:

Even though Ford had many fine seasons leading up to 1961, it really did all come together that year, as he posted a 25-4 record with a 3.21 earned run average and three shutouts over 39 starts and 283 innings.
It would also be the only year he'd top 200+ strikeouts in a season, with 209, and oddly enough, the only year in his career where he'd give up 100+ runs and earned runs in 16 years in the big leagues.
With his 25-4 record in 1961, Ford's career winning percentage at the time stood at an incredible .714, with 150 wins against 63 losses.
As a matter of fact, if it wasn't for his final two years in the Majors, 1966 and 1967, Ford would have been only the second pitcher in Major League history with more than 200 wins and less than 100 losses (Bob Caruthers STILL being the only one with a record of 218-99), as well as finishing with a career winning percentage over .700 (at .705), something no one with over 200 career wins has ever done before or since.
Over in the National League, Braves pitcher Warren Spahn once again takes center stage, this time at the ripe old age of 40, as he finished the aseason with a record of 21 and 13, with league leading numbers of: 3.02 earned run average, 21 complete games and four shutouts.
Like I've stated earlier, the man was a machine.
You think he was done yet? How about a record of 23-7 two years later at the age of 42?!
Just incredible to think he also missed three years in his early 20's to military service, and he still ended up 363 career wins.
1961 was the sixth year in a row that Spahn posted 20+ wins, as well as the twelfth time he topped that number.
Awesome couple of future Hall of Famers here.
Next up, 1962 and the winner, Dodger great Don Drysdale, and who the SABR guys thought would win, Yankee pitcher Ralph Terry.
Stay tuned…

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