Cy Young’s greatest day in baseball: May 5, 1904

From SABR member John Thorn at Our Game on November 28, 2012:

Cy Young was an Ohio farmboy who became the most famous pitcher in all baseball history. Born two years after the end of the Civil War, he began his major league career in 1890 and ended it in 1911. In that time he won 511 games, a mark that no pitcher has ever matched or may dream of matching. Amazingly, Young’s major-league career spanned four rival leagues: the Players’ League of 1890; the American Association of 1882-91; the American League, which he more than anyone enabled to survive after its founding in 1901; and the Federal League, in which he managed in 1913, when it was not yet a major-league rival. He pitched to men who had played in 1871 (Cap Anson) and would play until 1930 (Eddie Collins). 

When Young first arrived in the major leagues, Hall of Famers John Clarkson, Tim Keefe, and Old Hoss Radbourn were still star pitchers. When he retired, Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson were well into their careers. Amos Rusie and Kid Nichols were among Young’s contemporaries, yet Young was still pitching years after they retired. 

Cy Young is one of a handful of Hall of Fame players whose name is known today by baseball fans of all ages and sophistication. His awe-inspiring, unbreakable record helps—no pitcher in the past eight decades has won more than Warren Spahn’s 363. So does the publicity surrounding his eponymous award. In 1956, one year after Young’s remarkably long and eventful life came to an end, Major League Baseball created an annual award to honor the best pitcher in the game, including both leagues (awards for each league did not kick in until 1967). What to call it? The Walter Johnson Award? The Christy Mathewson Award? No, there was really only one choice—the Cy Young Award.

Here’s Cy Young in his own words, as he related the tale of his greatest game  to Francis J. Powers.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: November 28, 2012. Last Updated: November 28, 2012.