1959: Early Wynn, Cy Young Award
While the first Cy Young Award was given out after the 1956 season, it wasn’t until 1967 that winners were named in each of the American and National leagues. Prior to that, the award went to the pitcher deemed to be the best in baseball that season.
For the pennant-winning Chicago White Sox in 1959, it was veteran right-hander Early Wynn who earned that distinction.
The 39-year-old was coming off back-to-back losing seasons, including a 14-16 mark with a 4.13 ERA in his first season in Chicago in 1958.
He rediscovered the form that made Wynn a four-time 20-game winner with the Cleveland Indians as well as a five-time All-Star prior to the 1959 campaign. Wynn went 22-10 with a 3.17 ERA and 1.256 WHIP. He led the league in wins, as well as with 37 starts and 255.2 innings pitched.
Wynn completed 14 games with five shutouts, with a league-high 119 walks and 179 strikeouts.
In the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Wynn made three starts in the six-game loss, pitching seven shutout innings in Chicago’s 11-0 win in Game 1. But he got a no-decision in a 5-4 loss in Game 4, knocked out after just 2.2 innings having allowed four runs, three earned, on eight hits with two strikeouts.
With the White Sox down 3-2 and the series returning to Comiskey Park for Game 6, Wynn got the call on three days rest, but struggled again. He gave up five runs on five hits in 3.1 innings, walking three and striking out two as Chicago went down 9-3.
Wynn spent five year with the White Sox, going 64-55 with a 3.72 ERA and 1.319 WHIP in 1,010.2 innings. He appeared in 157 games, starting 147 and completing 53 with 16 shutouts.
Acquired from the Indians in a December 1957 trade that sent Minnie Minoso to Cleveland, the White Sox released Wynn in November 1962. He returned to Cleveland and got one win in 1963, the 300th of his career.