On the blog today, we move onto the National League’s top winning pitchers for 1974 in my 1975 “Expanded League Leaders” card in my long-running thread:
For 1974 we had two pitchers tied for the top spot in wins with 20, Andy Messersmith of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Hall of Famer Phil Niekro of the Atlanta Braves.
For Messersmith, it was a banner season for the righty, as he’d finish second behind record breaking teammate Mike Marshall for the league’s Cy Young Award, based on his 20-6 record, with a very nice 2.59 ERA and 221 strikeouts for the N.L. Champs.
Tied with Messersmith with 20 wins, the great knuckler Phil Niekro, who had himself his second 20-wins season, and first since 1969, as he’d go 20-13 over 41 appearances, all but two starts, leading the league with his 18 complete games and 302.1 innings pitched.
He would also complete six games, toss a shutout, and strikeout 195 batters while also picking up a save, which all would get him a third place finish in the Cy Young race at season’s end.
In third place with 19 wins each, Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Don Sutton and Cincinnati Reds pitcher Jack Billingham, with Sutton going 19-9 over 40 starts, with five shutouts and 179 strikeouts, and Billingham going 19-11 for his second straight 19-win season, while also posting an ERA of 3.94 over 36 appearances, with three shutouts and 103 strikeouts, good for a sixth place finish in the Cy Young race.
Four solid starters putting in good seasons for their respective teams.
Next week, we take a look at the American league’s top winners of 1974!
See you then!