Cy Young Award

Cy Young Award

The Cy Young Award Awarded for Major League Baseball's Best Regular Season Pitcher Presented by Baseball Writers Association of America Country United States First awarded 1956

The Cy Young Award is an honor given annually in baseball to the best pitchers in Major League Baseball (MLB), one each for the American League (AL) and National League (NL). The award was first introduced in 1956 by Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick in honor of Hall of Fame pitcher Cy Young, who died in 1955. The award was originally given to the single best pitcher in the major leagues, but in 1967, after the retirement of Frick, the award was given to one pitcher in each league.

Each league's award is voted on by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, with two representatives from each team, which means 28 ballots are cast for the American League winner, and 32 ballots are cast for the National League. Each voter places a vote for first, second, and third place among the pitchers of each league. The formula used to calculate the final scores is a weighted sum of the votes. The pitcher with the highest score in each league wins the award. If two pitchers receive the same number of votes, the award is shared. The current formula started in the 1970 season. Before that, writers only voted for the best pitcher and used a formula of one point per vote.


The Cy Young Award was first introduced in 1956 by Commissioner of Baseball Ford Frick in honor of Hall of Fame pitcher Cy Young, who died in 1955. The award would be given to pitchers only. Originally given to the single best pitchers in the major leagues, the award changed its format over time. From 1956 to 1966, the award was given to one pitcher in Major League Baseball. After Frick retired in 1967, William Eckert became the new Commissioner of Baseball. Due to fan requests, Eckert announced that the Cy Young Award would be given out both in the American League and the National League. From 1956 to 1958, a pitcher was not allowed to win the award on more than one occasion; this rule was eliminated in 1959. After a tie in the 1969 voting, the process was changed, in which each writer was to vote for three different pitchers: the first-place vote received five points, the second-place vote received three points, and the third-place vote received one point, a system that is still in use.

The first recipient of the Cy Young Award was Don Newcombe of the Dodgers, and the most recent winners are Roy Halladay, from the National League, and Félix Hernández, from the American League. In 1957, Warren Spahn became the first left-handed pitcher to win the award. In 1963, Sandy Koufax became the first pitcher to win the award in a unanimous vote; two years later he became the first multiple winner. In 1974, Mike Marshall won the award, becoming the first relief pitcher to win the award. In 1978, Gaylord Perry (age 40) became the oldest pitcher to receive the award, only to have the record broken in 2004 by Roger Clemens (age 42). The youngest recipient was Dwight Gooden (age 20 in 1985).

Multiple Winners

There have been 16 pitchers who have won the award multiple times. Roger Clemens currently holds the record for the most awards won, with seven. Greg Maddux (1992–1995) and Randy Johnson (1999–2002) share the record for the most consecutive awards won. Clemens, Johnson, Pedro Martínez, Gaylord Perry, and Roy Halladay are the only pitchers to have won the award in both the American League and National League; Sandy Koufax is the only pitcher who won multiple awards during the period when only one award was presented for all of Major League Baseball. Roger Clemens was the youngest pitcher to win a second Cy Young Award, while Tim Lincecum is the youngest pitcher to do so in the National League. Dennis Eckersley remains the last Cy Young Award winner to have won the MVP, doing so in 1992. Besides this, only five pitchers have won the award unanimously: Johan Santana (twice, in 2004 and 2006), Martínez (2000), Johnson (2002), Jake Peavy (2007) and Halladay (2010).

By The Baseball Page


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