Well, what have we learned from this not-so-little exercise?
First, let’s check out the multiple winners, according to me:
Eight: Lefty Grove
Five: Walter Johnson
Four: Grover Cleveland Alexander, Robin Roberts, Warren Spahn, Dazzy Vance
Three: Bob Feller, Carl Hubbel, Sandy Koufax, Bob Lemon, Hal Newhouser, Bucky Walters
Two: Jim Bunning, Ed Cicotte, Mort Cooper, Stan Coveleski, Dizzy Dean, Red Faber, Lefty Gomez, Christy Mathewson, Billy Pierce, George Uhle, Hippo Vaughn
Casual fans would surely recognize a lot of those names. More serious fans would recognize pitchers like Lefty Gomez and Bob Lemon. But Hippo Vaughn? Mort Cooper? A major part of the fun of doing a project like this is finding all the overlooked stars. Or stars like Lefty Grove whose greatness is rarely acknowledged. He utterly dominated his era – but it also happened to be an era when offense was supreme, so his career Earned Run Average is noticeably higher than it is for other all-time greats. So he’s left out of such “GOAT” discussions.
I note that Feller and Johnson could have easily picked up one or two more awards. Christy Mathewson would have earned more if the award started earlier. I also note that the best pitchers tended to be among those with the most wins. If really good pitchers win a lot of games, shouldn’t the converse be true – that pitchers who win a lot of games are really good?
One should also note that the Twins in the 1960s were really good! Two “Cy Young” Award winners – and they could have easily had a third. Plus Harmon Killebrew and Tony Oliva on offense…. The Cardinals in the early 1940s are another “dynasty” worthy of some respect – four pennants and three World Series wins in five years….
I’m sure if I did this again, I’d change my mind on more than a few winners. I’m also sure you’ll disagree with me. Who would you pick instead?