1983: LaMarr Hoyt, American League Cy Young Award
The Chicago White Sox had been building toward the 1983 season for awhile. The club breached the .500 mark in the strike-shortened 1981 season and improved to 87 wins and a third-place finish in the AL West in 1982.
In 1983, it all came together, with right-hander LaMarr Hoyt playing a big role in that. Hoyt was one of two 20-game winners on the staff as Chicago rolled to 99 wins and their first-ever division title. Richard Dotson went 22-7 in 35 starts, but it was Hoyt who stole the headlines.
In 36 starts, Hoyt was 24-10 with a 3.66 ERA and 1.024 WHIP, walking just 31 and fanning 148 in 260.2 innings. He did give up 27 home runs, but led the league in wins, WHIP and walks per nine innings (1.1). It was the second straight season Hoyt had led the AL in victories after picking up 19 in his first full season in the rotation.
Despite his gaudy record, however, Hoyt was not an All-Star in 1983. Despite the team’s record, the White Sox had just one player on the roster for the annual classic, which was played at Comiskey Park in Chicago for the first time since 1950.
Hoyt did his part in the ALCS, scattering five hits and escaping a bit of a jam in the bottom of the ninth to pick up the 2-1 complete game victory. As was typical for Hoyt, he wasn’t overpowering — striking out just four — but he didn’t walk anyone to get the White Sox off to a 1-0 lead in the series.
But the Baltimore Orioles came back to win the next three games before Hoyt got another start.
After losing 18 games to lead the AL in 1984, Hoyt was traded to the San Diego Padres in the offseason. Unfortunately that wasn’t Hoyt’s only losing battle. After earning his only All-Star bid in 1985, Hoyt was arrested on drug charges three times in 1986 and a fourth time in December 1987, which essentially got him black-listed by MLB.