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Cy Young Award
Hypothetical Winners, 1900-19

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! [Deane]

About 350 members of SABR selected "retroactive" winners for missing years and leagues beginning in 1900. The elections were conducted by Lyle Spatz, who reported in The Baseball Research Journal 1988. Spatz listed about ten candidates on the ballot for each retroactive award and mimicked the process used by the BBWAA for the official award since 1970: each voter ranked three candidates 1st, 2d, and 3d; those votes were counted as 5, 3, and 1 points.

Bill Deane selected "hypothetical" winners beginning in 1900, for Total Baseball (1st ed., 1989; included in all editions). He "felt a certain responsibility to make my selections consistent with the perceptions and voting trends of a particular era. . . . they are the ones which can be best justified with the available evidence." Sometime in editions 4-6, 1995-99, he revised one selection (see the table).

STATS, Inc., selected "retroactive" annual award winners from 1876, for The All-Time Major League Baseball Sourcebook (1998) . "We didn't try to guess what the voting trends might have been in a particular era. We concentrated on individual statistics (offensive and defensive) and team performance."

John Thorn and John Holway selected annual winners of the "Creighton Award" in The Pitcher (NY: Simon & Schuster, 1987). Their award is named for baseball's first superstar and first fast pitcher, Jim Creighton.

Hypothetical Cy Young Award, 1900-19

Key:  - two different selections (Thorn & Holway differ most often)
      * three different selections
      # four different selections

Elector  SABR members     Bill Deane       STATS, Inc.      Thorn & Holway
         BRJ 1988         TB 1989          1998

Federal League
1914F                     Hendrix -Chi     Hendrix          
1915F                     McConnell -Chi   McConnell        

American League
1901A    Young -Bos       Young            Young            Young      
1902A    Young -Bos       Young            Young            Young      
1903A    Young -Bos       Young            Young            Young      
1904A    Chesbro -NY      Chesbro          Chesbro          Chesbro    
1905A    Waddell -Phi     Waddell          Waddell          Waddell    
1906A *  Orth -NY         Orth (TB6)       Orth             Pelty -SL
                          Hess -Cle (TB3)             
1907A -  Joss -Cle        Walsh -Chi       Joss             Walsh -Chi  
1908A -  Walsh -Chi       Walsh            Walsh            Joss -Cle
1909A *  Mullin -Det      Smith -Chi       Mullin           Krause -Phi 
1910A    Coombs -Phi      Coombs           Coombs           Coombs     
1911A -  Johnson -Was     Johnson          Johnson          Gregg -Cle
1912A -  Wood -Bos        Wood             Johnson -Was     Johnson    
1913A    Johnson -Was     Johnson          Johnson          Johnson    
1914A -  Johnson -Was     Johnson          Johnson          Leonard -Bos
1915A    Johnson -Was     Johnson          Johnson          Johnson    
1916A -  Ruth -Bos        Ruth             Ruth             H.Coveleski -Det
1917A -  Cicotte -Chi     Cicotte          Cicotte          S.Coveleski -Cle
1918A    Johnson -Was     Johnson          Johnson          Johnson    
1919A -  Cicotte -Chi     Johnson -Was     Cicotte          Johnson    

National League
1900N    McGinnity -Bkn   McGinnity                         McGinnity
1901N #  Donovan -Bkn     Hahn -Cin        Phillippe -Pit   Willis -Bos
1902N -  Chesbro -Pit     Taylor -Chi      Taylor           Taylor   
1903N    Mathewson -NY    Mathewson        Mathewson        Mathewson
1904N    McGinnity -NY    McGinnity        McGinnity        McGinnity
1905N    Mathewson -NY    Mathewson        Mathewson        Mathewson
1906N    Brown -Chi       Brown            Brown            Brown    
1907N *  Mathewson -NY    Mathewson        Overall -Chi     Brown -Chi
1908N -  Mathewson -NY    Mathewson        Mathewson        Brown -Chi   
1909N    Mathewson -NY    Mathewson        Mathewson        Mathewson
1910N -  Mathewson -NY    Mathewson        Mathewson        Cole -Chi
1911N -  Alexander -Phi   Mathewson -NY    Mathewson        Mathewson
1912N -  Marquard -NY     Marquard         Marquard         Tesreau -NY
1913N -  Mathewson -NY    Mathewson        Mathewson        Seaton -Phi  
1914N -  James -Bos       James            James            Doak -SL
1915N    Alexander -Phi   Alexander        Alexander        Alexander
1916N    Alexander -Phi   Alexander        Alexander        Alexander
1917N    Alexander -Phi   Alexander        Alexander        Alexander
1918N    Vaughn -Chi      Vaughn           Vaughn           Vaughn   
1919N *  Barnes -NY       Vaughn -Chi      Vaughn           Alexander -Chi

Elector  SABR members     Bill Deane       STATS, Inc.      Thorn & Holway
         BRJ 1988         TB 1989-         1998

1901N  SABR named Donovan over Hahn in a close vote.
1906A  SABR named Orth over Joss in a very close vote.
       Deane named Hess in edition 3 (1993), Orth in edition 6 (1999).
1909N  SABR named Mathewson over Brown in its closest vote.

Scope. The selections by SABR and by Bill Deane begin with the National League in 1900. That is one year before the founding of the American League and the advent of the "Deadball Era" as it defines the Deadball Era Committee, SABR but I have included their 1900 selections here. Selections by STATS begin with the National League in 1876, the first league-season recognized as "major" by MLB. Selections by Thorn and Holway begin in 1876, too. See the 19th century Creighton Awards at "19th Century Resources".

First-Place Cys. SABR named pitchers on pennant-winning teams for 18 of 39 Cy Young awards; Bill Deane 17 of 41; STATS 19 of 40; Thorn and Holway 13 of 38.

Last-Place Cys. Bill Deane's selection of Noodles Hahn from the 1901 Cincinnati Reds is the only one from a last-place team by any of the four selectors. SABR named no one in its entire series, 1900-1966. The BBWAA honored Steve Carlton from the 1972 Philadelphia Phillies.

Repeat Cys. During the period covered here, only the big three deadball pitchers were named more than three times by any selector.

           SABR  Deane STATS Th-Hol
Mathewson    7     8     7     4
Alexander    4     3     3     4      also 1920 (SABR, Deane, Thorn-Holway)
Johnson      5     6     6     5      also 1924 (SABR, Deane, Thorn-Holway)
Cy Young was the unanimous choice three times, AL1901-03, and must be a strong candidate for several NL seasons in the 1890s. Thorn and Holway selected Young for 1892.

Acknowledgments. Phil Gawthrop, Lyle Spatz, Bob Allen, and Angelo Louisa provided the four series in electronic format. Gawthrop listed Deane's choices and his own, side-by-side in 'deadball' email, Jan 2001. In the next several weeks, he distributed statistics for the leading candidates, provided some analysis, and revised many of his selections. Consult the deadball email archive, especially "Hypot-CYA" (message 1122), 1 Feb 2001. See Bill Deane, "Awards and Honors", Total Baseball (any edition), for all of his hypothetical Cys and more history of the official award.

Last modified: 2005-06-06 (tweak)
Paul Wendt
© Society for American Baseball Research, 2001, 2003, 2005