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On This Date August 6, 1890: Cy Debuts

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

 

A 23-year-old Ohio farm boy named Denton True Young makes his debut with the Cleveland Spiders, earning the win as the Spiders beat the Chicago Colts at West Side Park in Chicago. He would spend 22 years in the majors better known as Cy Young, averaging 23 wins a season. He would finish his career with a record 511 wins.

Denton True Young was born March 29, 1867, in Gilmore, Ohio. A local farm boy who was called Dent Young in his early days, he stopped his formal education to work on his family’s farm after the sixth grade. He did, however, save time for baseball in his free time and learned to pitch. In 1889, he earned his nickname while pitching for a minor league team in Canton. While warming up one day, Young was warming up by throwing a ball against the fence. After reviewing the damage caused, someone remarked it looked like a cyclone had gone through. Reporters would catch wind of the story and dubbed him Cyclone Young, which would late be shortened to Cy.

In his first season with the Cleveland Spiders, he posted a record of 9-7 over the final two months of the season. A year later, he would win 27 games, as he quickly established himself as one of the top pitchers in the National League. Young was one of the hardest throwing pitchers in the game; it was said his catcher Chief Zimmer put a steak on his glove to soften the blow of his fastball. In nine seasons with Cleveland, Cy Young posted a record of 241-135 with a 3.10 ERA and 1,014 strikeouts. On September 18, 1897, he tossed his first career No-Hitter against the Cincinnati Reds.

In 1899, Cy Young was one of several star players transferred to St. Louis, as Spiders Owner Frank Robison owned both teams and chose to make the St. Louis Perfectos the team he would try to win the pennant with, while the Spiders became the worst team in the history of baseball. Young would play just two seasons for the team that became the Cardinals posting a record of 45-35 with a 2.78 ERA.

In 1901, Cy Young joined the newly founded American League, signing with the Boston Americans. Young had some of his best seasons in the first three years of the AL, leading the league in wins each season. This culminated with Cy Young starting the first-ever World Series game for Boston in 1903. On May 5, 1904, Cy Young threw the first Perfect Game in American League history, beating the Philadelphia Athletics 3-0. The Americans would later become the Boston Red Sox, as Cy Young was a key early star in resting the city's support away from the long-established national franchise. Young would throw a third career No-Hitter on June 30, 1908, blanking the New York Highlanders 8-0. In eight years with the Red Sox, Cy Young posted a record of 192-112, with a 2.00 ERA and 1,341 strikeouts.

Cy Young was traded to the Cleveland Naps in 1909; in two and half seasons with Cleveland, he would post a record of 29-29 with a 2.50 ERA. He would finish the 1911 season with the Boston Rustlers posting a record of 4-5 with a 3.71 ERA.

In total, Cy Young established many records that will remain forever unreachable, including the most all-time wins and losses at 511-316 in 815 career starts, which included 749 complete games. Cy Young also finished his career with 2,803 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.63. He would be elected to the Hall of Fame in 1937, a year after the first members were chosen. Cy Young died in 1955 at the age of 88. A year later, Major League Baseball began giving out an award to the best pitcher of the year, named in his honor.