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Friday, March 28, 2008

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// But the real reason is because without Cy Young performing so well, American League baseball may never have survived in Boston. //

OK, I can appreciate the big-picture observations...

But another real reason? 33 frickin' wins.

In a much shorter season.

Cy Young makes pretty much everyone in my lifetime except Luis Tiant look glass-armed.

The Hardball Times had a great article back in February discussing the merits of Cy Young in comparison to the other pitchers of his time, concluding that the CYA should quite probably have been named after someone other than Cy Young.

I don't think anyone would question that Walter Johnson was far and away the best of the dead-ball pitchers (I say this not having read the article). Johnson had the misfortune of playing for the Expos of his day, while Young played for very good teams, including the first World Champions.

Still, Young's no slouch. And his 1901 was up there with (some of) the Big Train's best seasons. Nothing beats Johnson's 1913 though. Well, almost nothing. ;-)

It is interesting to note that Young vs. Johnson is also something of a peak vs. career issue. Johnson had an amazing six straight seasons with a 170 ERA+ or better. But Young had 14 straight seasons at 120 or better, which is just a phenomenal stretch of great pitching without a single off year.

The thrust of the article is that Big Train or the Christian Gentleman would have been arguably better candidates, among others to be the namesake of the greatest pitcher in the game, but then again Cy Young has the best ring to it. Anyway, I look forward to your write-up of the one that is the "almost nothing," knowing full well what you are talking about.

at least they didn't call it the "denny mclain award": http://espn.go.com/classic/biography/s/McLain_Denny.html

Worth noting re the walk rate; during the dead ball era there was, as the name suggests, a greater propensity to "pitch to contact." With the home run much less of a threat, and the ball an inert, dirt-darkened sphere, a smart pitcher let batters get themselves out.

This is probably known by a lot of people, but when and how did the dead ball era end? I feel like I read this in Spalding's World Tour in an aside, but I'm blanking, so apologies to the author in advance:)

It's an informal designation, so there is no concrete timeline, but the essential end came when Babe Ruth started jacking balls out of parks with regularity. That changed the face of the game.

Who's Babe Ruth?

Did MLB not change the type of baseballs used between the 1919 and 1920 seasons? This is always the explanation I've heard, and the difference in output between the two seasons (4.09 RPG/240 home runs in the AL in 1919, 4.76/369 in 1920) seems to support this.

Much like a similar jump between 1993 and 1995 seems to likewise support a change in baseball makeup, regardless of what MLB claims.

Yes, the ball was made livelier in 1920, and a new day born. But it's worth noting that the deadball style of play, as exemplified by Ty Cobb, lived on for some time after.

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