Monday, April 20, 2009

Seeking Second Cys

Lar, at Wezen-ball, had an interesting exercise going today, looking to find seasons where hall of famers swept the major post-season awards. Lar identified three seasons, all pre-1967 (which is when the writers began awarding the Cy Young in each league), where three Hall of Famers dominated the categories. But that didn't seem fair. After all, the writers only had hit on three awards those years, rather than the four from '67 on. The Common Man was responding on this topic in the comments section of Lar's piece, extrapolating on his idea, and wouldn't you know, it turned into a post in its own right:

I like this exercise a lot, Lar. Going back to your data, I looked at those '57, '59, and '66 seasons where HOFers swept the awards, and thought about awarding a second Cy Young and seeing what would happen.

1957: I gotta think the AL award goes to Jim Bunning, who led the league in IP, tied for the lead in Wins, 2nd in strikeouts, and 3rd in ERA in his first big season. That would give you a clean sweep.

1959: This year probably comes down to one of three guys in the NL. Warren Spahn led the league in IP (292), tied for the lead in wins, and finished 3rd in ERA. But Sad Sam Jones also pitched 270 innings that year, winning the same number, and won the ERA crown outright while finishing 2nd in strikeouts. Finally, Elroy Face won 18 games out of the bullpen, against just 1 loss, and finished 7th in the MVP race. So it's not clear that you'd get a sweep there.

1966: This is, by far, the most interesting (to me anyway), as the AL winner almost certainly would have been Jimmie Kaat of the Twins. Kittie threw 304 innings in 41 starts that year (both led the league), and won 25 games (five more than runner-up Denny McLain). He also was 6th in the AL in ERA. Gary Peters, of the White Sox, finished with an ERA under 2.00, but only won 12 games and pitched a third fewer innings. On its surface, this doesn't seem to get you your sweep; but I've got to wonder if having a Cy Young award in his cabinet would have put Kaat over the top with the voters.

Thoughts? Feel free to vote in the poll at the right.

1 comment:

lar said...

That's a really intriguing question, TCM. Would a Cy Young for Jim Kaat have been enough? It's really hard to say, but it definitely seems possible. One of the things people always say about Blyleven is that he doesn't have any Cy's to go with his wins (and strikeouts and shutouts and...). Kaat has a similar number of wins, and so a Cy Young award might've been enough to convince some people to put him in. He's definitely not as good of a HOF candidate as Blyleven, so don't think I'm trying to say that, but I could see some people being swayed.

Looking at the voting history though, Kaat spent 15 years on the ballot but never got more than 29.6% of the vote. Even with a Cy to his name, I doubt that would've convinced another 45%.

Love what you did with the piece (though I noticed that you conveniently ignored the whole ROY voting, which complicates this immensely). Glad to see you're finding the time to write some more.