up to 19c index

Cy Young Award
Hypothetical Winners, 1871-1900

The Cy Young Award was established by Major League Baseball and the Baseball Writers Association of America in 1956. One "Cy" was awarded annually in 1956-66, then one in each league. The BBWAA approved the award by vote only 14-12!

John Thorn and John Holway selected annual winners of the "Creighton Award" from 1876, for The Pitcher (NY: Simon & Schuster, 1987). Their retroactive award is named for baseball's first superstar and first fast pitcher, Jim Creighton. Thorn and Holway referred to several new performance measures, especially "Wins Above League". Here are their selections for the 19th century, with some other "Cys" for 1900 only.

STATS, Inc., selected "retroactive" annual award winners from 1876, for The All-Time Baseball Sourcebook (1998) . I will be happy to include their 19th century Cy Young selections if someone provides them.

Creighton Awards and other Hypothetical Cys, 1871-1900

       -pitched for first-place team

        National League          
1876    George Washington Bradley, SL   
1877   -Tommy Bond, BOS
1878   -Tommy Bond, BOS
1879    Tommy Bond, BOS (3)
1880    John Ward, PRO
1881    George Derby, DET               American Association     
1882    Charles Radbourn, PRO          -Will White, CIN
1883    Charles Radbourn, PRO           Will White, CIN (2)     Union Association
1884   -Charles Radbourn, PRO (3)       Guy Hecker, LOU         Hugh Daily, CHI
1885   -John Clarkson, CHI             -Bob Caruthers, SL
1886    Charlie Ferguson, PHI          -Dave Foutz, SL
1887    John Clarkson, CHI              Matt Kilroy, BAL
1888   -Tim Keefe, NY                  -Silver King, SL
1889    John Clarkson, BOS (3)         -Bob Caruthers, BRO (2)  Players' League
1890    Bill Hutchison, CHI            -Scott Stratton, LOU     Silver King, CHI
1891    Bill Hutchison, CHI (2)        -George Haddock, BOS
1892    Cy Young, CLE (career total, 4, inclg 1901-1903)
1893    Amos Rusie, NY
1894    Amos Rusie, NY (2)
1895    Pink Hawley, PIT
1896    Kid Nichols, BOS
1897   -Kid Nichols, BOS
1898   -Kid Nichols, BOS (3)
1899    Vic Willis, BOS (career total, 2, inclg 1901)
1900   -Joe McGinnity, BRO (career total, 2, inclg 1904)

Other selections for NL1900:
       -Joe McGinnity, BRO [SABR members, BRJ 1988]
       -Joe McGinnity, BRO [Bill Deane, TB 1989-]

See 1900-1919 selections from four sources.

Scope. Thorn & Holway named Creighton Award winners for each major league season 1876-1987. Because better records are available today, I am sure they would name 1871-1875 winners, although MLB does not recognize the National Association as "major". Selections by SABR poll and by Bill Deane for Total Baseball begin in 1900. Selections by STATS, Inc. (1998) begin in 1876, but I do not know them. For more information on SABR, Deane/TB, and STATS selections, see Cy Young Award, Hypothetical Winners 1900-1919.

First-Place winners. 15 of 37 Creighton winners pitched for teams that won league pennants, including 8 of 25 in the NL and 7 of 10 in the AA.

Last-Place winners. None of the Creighton winners pitched for a team that finished last in the league. For most of the 19th century, pitcher workloads were great enough that a plausible candidate for the season's best pitcher could carry a team at least to mediocrity. (In 1972, the baseball writers honored Steve Carlton from the last-place Philadelphia Phillies. He also won the 1972 Creighton Award.)

Repeat winners. Bond, Radbourn, Clarkson, and Nichols each won three Creighton Awards for 19th century work. Young won one in the 19th century and three more in the 20th.

Last modified: (not yet)
Paul Wendt
© Society for American Baseball Research, 2003