Friday, November 14, 2008

Totally Useless but Mildly Interesting Baseball Trivia

Thrilled in the confirmation of Cliff Lee winning the AL Cy Young yesterday, I got to wondering when the last time one team had two different pitchers win back-to-back Cy Youngs like the Indians did (Sabathia, '07; Lee, '08). I suspected it may have been some combo from the Braves back in the Maddux-Smoltz-Glavine era, and I wasn't far off - Maddux-Smoltz won in '95-'96.

What did surprise me was the number of teams that actually have accomplished the feat of having two different starters win Cy Youngs back-to-back. My initial suspicion that it was the Braves wasn't far off, but it was wrong - the Blue Jays were actually the last to have back-to-back winners, when Pat Hentgen got it in 1996 and Roger Clemens followed in 1997 (and 1998). And more teams (8) had done it than I would have expected, with a majority (5) being from the American League, of all things. In addition to the Indians, Blue Jays, and Braves, the Yankees accomplished the feat in '77-'78 with Sparky Lyle and Ron Guidry; the Orioles followed in '79-'80 with Mike Flanagan and Steve Stone; and the Breweres followed them in '81-'82 with Rollie Fingers and Pete Vuckovich. In the NL, prior to the Braves, the Phillies won in '82-'83 with Steve Carlton and John Denny, and the Dodgers won (back when there was only one Cy Young award for all of baseball) in '62-'63 with Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax.

Like I said, it's not really worth anything, but it is interesting that what I (erroneously) thought would have been a relatively uncommon occurance (back-to-back Cy Youngs for one team with two pitchers) is actually not that uncommon at all (though not normal, either).