Boston Red Sox Cy Young Award winners before it existed

October 6, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello (22) throws in the third inning against the Cleveland Indians during game one of the 2016 ALDS playoff baseball game at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
October 6, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello (22) throws in the third inning against the Cleveland Indians during game one of the 2016 ALDS playoff baseball game at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /
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The 1920s The Lean Years

The Red Sox soon went from the premier team in the American League to a laughingstock. A franchise that consistently did nothing but roll over and play dead. The history is quite clear as the team traded away star players and players who would blossom elsewhere and elsewhere was the New York Yankees.

The Yankees finally broke through in 1923 with their first World Series title and the team resembled the one that was once in Boston and that certainly applied best to pitching. Bullet Joe Bush, Herb Pennock, Carl Mays, Waite Hoyt. and Sad Sam Jones all pitched for the Red Sox before ending up in New York.

How good would they have been in Boston?

Pennock is in the Baseball Hall of Fame and so is Hoyt. Bush won 62 games in his three seasons with the Yankees. Jones chipped in with 67 wins in four years. Mays had 80 wins in five seasons, including back-to-back years of 26 and 27 wins. All were among the best in the league at one point in their New York careers.

Meanwhile, in Boston, there was Red Ruffing. Ruffing suffered pitching for two awful Red Sox teams. In 1928 Ruffing went 10-25 and followed up in 1929 with a 9-22 record. As a reward for his suffered, the Red Sox shipped Ruffing to the Yankees where he finished with 231 New York wins and a Hall of Fame induction.

That string of failure was about to change with a perfect storm of baseball circumstance that may well have saved the franchise. The first was The Great Depression and many owners were going broke, but the Red Sox had a new owner in the very wealthy Tom Yawkey. Yawkey was in a buy mode and that brought to town a pitcher who many recognize as the best ever.