Little Bits of History

Perfect, Cyclone

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 5, 2015
Cy Young *

Cy Young 

May 5, 1904: Cy Young pitches a perfect game. He was born in Gilmore, Ohio in 1867. He dropped out of school after the sixth grade to help out on the family farm. He played in many different baseball leagues as a child and also for the semi-pro Carrollton team in 1888. He pitched and played second base for them. He was offered a position in the minor league Canton team the next year. He began his professional career with that move. Although born with the name Denton True Young, when he threw a fastball at a fence, it looked like a cyclone hit it and Dent got the nickname, shortened to Cy. He used it for the rest of his life. He made his major league debut on August 6, 1890. He was playing for the Cleveland Spiders.

Early on, he was noted as being one of the harder-throwing pitchers in the game. Chief Zimmer, his usual catcher with the Spiders, often put some beefsteak inside his glove to help protect his catching hand against the pitcher’s fastball. Technology hadn’t advanced enough to get an accurate speed for his pitches. Two years later, rules changed the position of the pitching mound, placing it five feet farther from the plate. Part of the reason was the speed of the fastball thrown by Young and a few other hotshots in the game. On this day, he was playing for the Boston Americans. The game was played at Huntington Avenue Grounds in Boston with 10,267 fans in the stands. The opponents were the Philadelphia Athletics. Young faced 27 players and none of them reached first base. The first perfect game in the modern era of baseball.

Young played professional baseball from 1890 to 1911 and racked up an impressive number of records. During his time on the mound, he managed 511 wins, the most in Major League history – and 94 games ahead of Walter Johnson who is in second place. He also had 315 losses, the most in MLB history as well. He pitched the most innings with 7,355 to his credit and started in 815 games, the most ever. He also pitched 749 complete games, another record. His 76 career shutouts are fourth on the list. He won 30 games in a season five times and managed 20 or more another ten times. As well as this perfect game, he pitched two more no-hitters. He also pitched 25 ⅓ consecutive innings without his opponents getting a hit. He won the World Series in 1903 as well as several other championships.

Young died at the age of 88 in Newcomerstown, Ohio. A year after his death, the Cy Young Award was begun. It is given each year to the best pitchers in MLB with one going to the best in the American League and one to the best pitcher in the National League. Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick began the annual award in 1956 (when only one winner was awarded) with Don Newcombe of the Brooklyn Dodgers taking the trophy. In 1967, it was decided that two awards would be given, one for each league. The current winners are Clayton Kershaw for the National League (LA Dodgers) and Corey Kluber (Cleveland Indians) for the American League.

One of the fellows called me ‘Cyclone’ but finally shortened it to ‘Cy’ and it’s been that ever since.

A pitcher’s got to be good and he’s got to be lucky to get a no hit game.

Too many pitchers, that’s all, there are just too many pitchers Ten or twelve on a team. Don’t see how any of them get enough work. Four starting pitchers and one relief man ought to be enough. Pitch ’em every three days and you’d find they’d get control and good, strong arms.

I thought I had to show all my stuff and I almost tore the boards of the grandstand with my fastball. – all from Cy Young

Also on this day: Monkey Trial – In 1925 John Scopes was arrested for teaching evolution.
Cinco de Mayo – In 1862, the Battle of Puebla was fought.
Turning Straw Into Gold – In 1809, the first patent was granted to a woman in the US.
Music Hall – In 1891, what we know as Carnegie Hall opened.
The End – In 1821, Napoleon Bonaparte died.

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