Red Sox pitcher Cy Young – No. 21
The best pitcher in each league is annually recognized with a trophy so naturally, the guy who the award is named after has to appear high on this list. Cy Young began his career in the late 19th century with the Cleveland Spiders. In case that isn’t enough evidence to express how long ago it was, his staggering numbers show how different the game was in his day.
Young is the all-time leader with 511 wins. It feels safe to say nobody will ever approach that mark, especially in today’s generation when bullpens are leaned on heavily to make it harder for a starter to notch a victory. Young rarely needed a reliever to support him, logging a record 749 complete games in 815 starts.
In modern times, we talk about a workhorse as a pitcher who reaches 200 innings in a season. Young topped 400 innings in five of his first six full seasons! He tossed at least 300 innings in 16 seasons. Granted, pitchers didn’t throw as hard in those days and didn’t have the torque put on their arms by breaking balls that are common in today’s game. Pitchers could navigate innings quicker while pitching to contact and strikeouts weren’t nearly as common back then, as evident by Young’s career 3.4 K/9.
Young won a pair of ERA titles, winning the pitching Triple Crown on both occasions. He owned a 2.63 ERA and 1.13 WHIP for his career.
Young came to Boston for the inaugural season of the Red Sox franchise, known then as the Boston Americans. He pitched eight years with the club and his 192 wins are tied for the most in franchise history.