The New York Yankees are famous for winning World Series. When I think about the great Yankees my thoughts usually go to non-pitchers: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe Dimaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Derek Jeter. In addition to those great position players, there have been five pitchers who have won the Cy Young award. I will look of each one with statistics provided by Baseball-Reference.com and Baseball-Almanac.com.
It is important to remember that the first year the Cy Young award was given was 1956,and from 1956 to 1966, only one award was given for both leagues. Then in 1967 baseball starting given one for each league.
The first Yankee hurler and American League pitcher to win the award was Bob Turley in 1958. He won 21 games while losing 7 with an ERA of 2.97. Turley pitched 245.1 innings with 168 strikeouts. He got off to a tremendous start by pitching a complete game four hit shutout and followed that up in his second start with a one hit shutout. He fast start included seven victories in his first seven starts. Every win was a complete game and four games were shutouts.
The 1961 Yankees are considered to be one of the greatest teams in baseball history and Whitey Ford was a major part of that team. He became the third American League pitcher and the second Yankee pitcher to win the award. Ford had a season to remember winning 25 games while losing only 4. His ERA was 3.21 in 283 innings. He struck out 209 batters during this incredible season that included the month of June when he started 8 games and won all of them. He continued that run through July 17th when he threw a six hit shutout for his 11th straight victory in 11 starts.
Sixteen years would pass before another Yankee hurler would win. That occurred in 1977 when the award was given to one pitcher in each league. Sparky Lyle was a reliever but that did not stop him from the convincing the voters that he deserved to be called the best pitcher in the American League. Lyle complied a record of 13-5 with a 2.17 ERA and 26 saves. Lyle appeared in 72 games and the Yankees were 41-31 when Lyle made an appearance. Sparky pitched 137 innings for the Yankees, making many appearances of more than one inning.
The Yankees won consecutive Cy Young awards in 1978 with Ron Guidry. Guidry was truly dominant, posting a record of 25-3 with a 1.74 ERA in 273.2 innings. Guidry struck out 248 batters as he put up numbers that sound hard to believe. He started 35 games with 16 complete games and 9 shutouts. The Yankees were 30-5 in the games he started. When he won his start on July 2nd his record stood at 13-0. He also finished strong winning 6 of his 7 starts in September. I would say of the five pitchers listed here Guidry’s year was the best.
The final Cy Young winner was Roger Clemens in 2001. He complied a record of 20-3 in 220.1 innings with an ERA of 3.51 and 213 strikeouts. The Yankees were 27-5 in his 32 starts. When Clemens was the winning pitcher on September 19th, his record stood at an amazing 20-1. Clemens just knew how to win in this Cy Young season.
The above five pitchers truly represent excellence and are a part of the great Yankee tradition.