Saturday, June 22, 2013

Pitchers to Win Rookie of the Year, Cy Young AND MVP Awards

I came across the topic of this post when reading about a series of anecdotes and interviews done of members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in relation to their memories of their time playing in the city of Pittsburgh either as a member of the Pirates or as a visiting player. The article Pittsburgh's claim to fame from the Spring/Summer 2006 issue of Pittsburgh Quarterly by Douglas Heuck & Dan Fitzpatrick states that one of the Hall of Famers that was interviewed was (at the time of the article being published) the only player to have won the Rookie of the Year, Cy Young AND Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards.

In case you don't know, the Rookie of the Year was first given out in 1947 for the most outstanding rookie league-wide (1949 on for a Rookie in each league). The Cy Young was created in 1956 with one pitcher winning it yearly league-wide. (1967 for a pitcher in each league). The Most Valuable Player award has been awarded to one player in each league since 1931. So based on those dates, the earliest that anyone could have won all three awards is 1956.

Also something else to consider, it seemed that the MVP award was given to pitchers more often from 1950-1990. There has been movement that seems to think that pitchers shouldn't win the MVP award since pitchers already have an award specifically for them, which is the Cy Young Award. So keeping that in mind, I looked at the lists for the Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and MVP awards and found that up to the 2012 season, only two pitchers have won all three awards.

Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers is the most recent of the two pitchers to win all three awards. Verlander won the 2006 American League Rookie of the Year award with a 17-9 record and a 3.63 ERA. He won the 2011 Cy Young and 2011 MVP awards with a 24-5 record and a 2.40 ERA.


Hall of Famer Don Newcombe of the Brooklyn Dodgers was the first player to achieve the honor of winning all three awards. Newcombe was the 1949 National League Rookie of the Year with a 17-8 record and a 3.17 ERA. He won the 1956 Cy Young and 1956 MVP awards with a 27-7 record and a 3.06 ERA.

Here is a video from the BBWAA dinner on January 22, 2012 where Don Newcombe discusses introducing reigning AL Cy Young and MVP Justin Verlander.


So there you have it. Don Newcombe and Justin Verlander are the only two pitchers to win the Rookie of the Year, Cy Young AND MVP awards.

Sisco Kid.

For Further Reading
- Click Here to see the entire list of players to have won the Rookie of the Year awards from MLB.com
- Click Here to see the entire list of pitchers to have won the Cy Young awards from MLB.com
- Click Here to see the entire list of players to have won the Most Valuable Player awards from MLB.com