On August 6, 1890, baseball great Cy Young pitched his first professional game against Cap Anson’s Chicago White Stockings. Anson had scouted Young while he was at Canton and rejected him as being “just another big farmer.” When Cy beat the White Stockings 8-1 and allowed only three hits, Anson strove to purchase him from Cleveland.
Over the course of his 22-year career, Young won at least 508 games (511 is the generally accepted number) and averaged more than 23 victories per season. Young set Major League records for most wins all-time, most losses all-time, most innings pitched all-time, most games started all-time, and most complete games all-time. His accomplishments and records can be attributed to his longevity, durability, and consistency.
Denton True Young was born on a farm in Gilmore, OH, on March 29, 1867. While pitching for the Canton (Ohio) club of the old Tri-State League in 1890, Mr. Young was nicknamed Cy. “I thought I had to show all my stuff” he recalled years later, “and I almost tore the boards off the grandstand with my fast ball. One of the fellows called me ‘Cyclone,’ but finally shortened it to ‘Cy,’ and it’s been that ever since.”
Cy Young played for the Cleveland Spiders from 1890 until 1898, spent the next two years with St. Louis, and then signed with the Boston Americans (renamed the Red Sox in 1908) in the American League. Young’s final season was 1911, which he split between the Cleveland Naps and the National League’s Boston Rustlers. Continuing to follow the game closely after retiring to his farm near Peoli, Ohio, Young felt wounded when he was passed over in the initial Hall of Fame election in 1936. The oversight was rectified the following year, however, allowing him to be among the original group of inductees in 1939.
Shortly after Young’s death on November 4, 1955, commissioner Ford Frick originated the Cy Young Award, an annual honor bestowed upon the pitcher deemed most valuable.