Boston Red Sox Cy Young Award winners before it existed
By Rick McNair
1903 Three in a row for Cy
Would the old Cyclone make it a triple award? The 1903 season saw a league and World Series flag flutter above the Huntington Avenue ballpark. The first World Series was a Boston one, but Young was not the star. In keeping with the award, postseason play means nothing as the votes are tabulated before the postseason.
Young led the league in wins once again (28), complete games (34) and innings pitched 341.2. Young also led in shutouts (7) and in saves with just two. Where Young would stand out above the competition is his league-leading winning percentage of .757.
Waddell would once again give Young a decent run in any voting with a league-best 302 strikeouts and a league-leading 34 complete games. Where it breaks down for Waddell is his 21-16 record that translates to a .568 winning percentage. Waddell’s earned run average was 2.44 and his rWAR of 8.8 topped the American League.
The other significant competition would be Philadelphia left-hander Eddie Plank. Plank tossed 336 innings and delivered a 2.38 earned run average. Like Waddell, where it brings down for early century voters, would be a .590 winning percentage on a 23-16 record. That, however, does not impact an rWAR of 7.2 to Young’s 7.1.
The last significant competitor would be Young’s teammate Bill Dinneen, who went 21-13 with a 2.26 earned run average. Dinneen’s rWAR was 6.6 and the big righty tossed 299 innings for the Red Sox. Dinneen went 3-1 in the World Series to Young’s 2-1 – Young’s only World Series appearance.
The American League award would have to be favored for Young based on performance and the fact that his resume was extensive. The league didn’t have the firepower in pitching that the National League had, but that occasionally happens. Award to Cy – his last.