Today we move past the "Koufax-Era" and spotlight the 1967 Cy Young Award winners in my imagined 1975 sub-set based on the awesome M.V.P. version Topps had in their set that year.
Turns out the card I needed to design took a little more work than expected since the National league's winner that year, San Francisco Giant Mike McCormick, was actually pictured as a Washington Senator in the 1967 set.
So, along with the as-issued card of American league winner Jim Lonborg of the Boston red Sox, I had to create a Giants card for McCormick before I dropped them onto the 1975 sub-set card.
Here's what McCormick's card looked like in the 1967 set:
And here's my creation, showing him as a Giant pitcher:
Now let's move onto my design for the sub-set showing the Cy Young Award winners for the 1967 season:
This was the first year that there was a Cy Young winner picked for BOTH leagues, so we are now past the SABR selections of presumed winners in whichever league wasn't represented between 1956-1966.
Both pitchers really came out of nowhere to post career years that season.
Jim Lonborg helped lead the Boston Red Sox to their first World Series appearance since 1946, mainly on the shoulders of Triple Crown winner and Most Valuable Player Carl Yastrzemski.
By the time the season ended Lonborg's numbers were outstanding, finishing with a league-leading 22 wins against nine losses, along with a league-leading 246 strikeouts and a 3.16 earned run average.
He also started a league-high 39 games and completed 15 of them, good for 273.1 innings pitched and two shutouts.
It was only his third full season in the Majors, and sadly for Lonborg easily the high point of his career, though he did win 18 games for the Phillies in 1976 with an even better E.R.A. than 1967 at 3.08.
However immediately after his great '67 season, he faltered in 1968 to a 6-10 record with a 4.29 E.R.A., never really coming close to all-star numbers again in his 15 year career.
In the National league, McCormick was a well worn veteran by the time he rejoined the Giants after four seasons of toiling in the American League for the Baltimore Orioles and Senators between 1963-1966.
Originally up in the big leagues as a seventeen year old for the New York Giants in 1956, he actually won the National League E.R.A. crown back in 1960 at the ripe-young-age of 21 when he posted 2.70.
That season also saw him go 15-12 with four shutouts and three saves, but would be his best season in the Majors until 1967 rolled around.
Finding himself in the N.L. again seemed to revitalize his career, as he cruised to a 22-10 record with a nice 2.85 earned run average and five shutouts to go along with 150 strikeouts.
To be honest, I personally wonder why the award didn't go to either Jim Bunning or Fergie Jenkins, both future Hall of Famers, as their numbers seem to be better overall.
But McCormick left them in the dust when voting was announced, 18 votes to one each for Bunning and Jenkins.
Like Lonborg, sadly McCormick's career would quickly fall apart, as he was only able to win 12 games the following year, and 11 the next before playing out the last two years of his career with the Giants, Yankees and Royals to the tune of a 7-4 record with an above-6.00 E.R.A. before calling it a career after 16 seasons.
It really was a curious oddity that these two guys would pop out of obscurity and claim the top pitching prize in the same season, leading their team to excellent seasons before falling out of sight somewhat by the time the decade came to a close.
Definitely one of the more interesting Cy Young Award years of the era.
Next up on this thread, the "Year of the Pitcher"!
1968 and the absolute domination of Denny McClain and Bob Gibson, not only Cy Young Award winners for the respective leagues, but Most Valuable Players as well!