Wednesday night was pitchers night and R.A. Dickey made history when he became the first knuckleballer in the history of Major League Baseball to win the Cy Young Award.
The National League voting wasn’t even close as Dickey reeled in 27 of the possible 32 first place votes. Dickey also picked up five second place votes on his way to totaling 209 points. Dickey had more vote points than the second and third place finishers combined.
The season Dickey had was amazing. After winning a total of 41 games in his first nine years, Dickey became just the sixth Mets pitcher in franchise history to win 20 games in a season and the first since Frank Viola (20) did so in 1990. Other Mets 20 game winners include David Cone (20 in 1988), Dwight Gooden (24 in 1985), Jerry Koosman (21 in 1976), and Tom Seaver (25 in 1969, 22 in 1975, 21 in 1972, 20 in 1971).
Dickey’s Cy Young Award was just the fifth time a Mets player has won the award, joining Seaver (1969, 1973, and 1975) and Gooden (1985).
Dickey didn’t just win 20 games though. He also led the National League in strikeouts with 230, innings pitched with 233.2, games started with 33, complete games with 5, shutouts with 3, and batters faced with 927. Dickey was second in ERA (2.73) and third in WHIP (1.05). The strikeout total was almost 100 more than Dickey had just one season ago.
What makes Dickey winning the award even more impressive is that he pitched for a losing team. The Mets finished the year with a 74-88 record, good for fourth place in the NL East.
One year after winning the NL Cy Young, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw finished a distant second place with 96 votes. Kershaw had a pair of first place votes, 11 third place votes, one fourth place and six fifth place votes. In all, Kershaw was named on 30 ballots. Kershaw received his first place votes from Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports and Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.
Washington Nationals ace Gio Gonzalez, who led all of Major League Baseball with 21 wins, was named on more ballot than Kershaw, but received three less points as he totaled 93 points. Gonzalez had one first place vote, 12 second place votes, six third places, eight fourth places and four fifth place votes. Gonzalez’ lone first place vote came from Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post.
The two remaining first place votes went to Johnny Cueto of Cincinnati and Craig Kimbrel of Atlanta. Cueto got his vote from the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay and Kimbrel’s vote came from Tim Kurkjian of ESPN.com In all, Cueto finished fourth with 75 points while Kimbrel was fifth with 41 points.
Matt Cain of the Giants was sixth with 22 points while Kyle Lohse was seventh with 6 points coming on two fourth place and two fifth place votes.
In the American League, Tampa Bay ace David Price beat out defending Cy Young winner Justin Verlander by four points. It was the closest non-tie vote in American League history. In 1969 the Baltimore Orioles’ Mike Cuellar and Detroit Tigers’ Denny McLain tied for the award.
Page 2 of 2 - Both pitchers were on every ballot, but the difference came down to one vote.Price finished with 14 first place votes, 13 second places, and 1 third place for 153 points while Verlander totaled 13 first places, 13 second places, and 2 third place votes.
The only first place vote not to go to Price or Verlander went to fellow Tampa Bay pitcher, Fernando Rodney. On that ballot, Verlander received a second place vote and Price received his only third place vote.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitcher Jered Weaver was a distant third in the voting, finishing with 70 points. Weaver received 2 second place votes, 14 third place votes, 9 fourth’s and 2 fifths. Both of Weaver’s second place votes came to writers in the Los Angeles area and both writers put Price at No. 1.
Price did have a dominant year. He was one of two 20 game winners in the American League (Weaver was the other) while also winning the AL ERA title with a 2.56 mark. Of his 20 wins, nine of them came against teams that made the playoffs. Price beat the Yankees three times and Baltimore twice. He beat the A’s, Nationals, Rangers, and Tigers all once each.
In fact, the most telling game might have been back on June 29th when Price beat Verlander in a two pitchers only head to head matchup of the season. That was also the only time Price faced the Tigers during the season. Price went 7 innings and struck out 7 batters and gave up one home run. On the flip side, Verlander struck out 8 in six innings while allowing three home runs, including a pair to Desmond Jennings.