Schechter: McCormick and Lonborg’s career years in 1967

From SABR member Gabriel Schechter at The National Pastime Museum on November 17, 2017:

After Sandy Koufax won the Cy Young Award in 1966, the Baseball Writers Association of America had seen enough. For the third time in four seasons, Koufax had won—unanimously. Plenty of other fine pitchers never sniffed a vote (like Juan Marichal, 25–6 in 1966). So the BBWAA did something about it.

Starting in 1967, each league would have its own Cy Young Award winner. Koufax would have been joined by American Leaguers Whitey Ford (24–7 in 1963), Jim Kaat (25–13 in 1966), and either Mudcat Grant or Mel Stottlemyre (1965). To make it even more democratic, Koufax retired.

The idea was to recognize the era’s elite pitchers, with the short-term irony that in 1967, both winners experienced “career years” they never came close to duplicating. One was near the end of his career, the other one early in his. After winning the 1967 awards, they combined for an 18–24 record the following season. Let’s look at how these very different pitchers caught lightning in a bottle for one magical, award-worthy season.

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Originally published: November 17, 2017. Last Updated: November 17, 2017.