For Cy Young, the 1908 season resulted in only 21 victories with the Red Sox. And though he posted the lowest earned-run average of his career – 1.26 – he did appear in only 36 games, the lowest total since his rookie season.
For any other 41-year-old pitcher in big league history, it would have been an historic season. For the great Cyclone, it precipitated a trade that sent him to Cleveland on Feb. 16, 1909.
Born March 29, 1867 in Gilmore, Ohio, Denton True Young debuted with the National League’s Cleveland Spiders in 1890. By 1892, Young was the ace of a Spiders’ pitching staff that posted 93 wins – the high-water mark for a franchise that would famously go 20-134 just seven years later.
“I thought I had to show all my stuff,” said Young of his tryout with the Spiders. “I threw the ball so hard a tore a couple of boards off the grandstand. One of the fellows said the stand looked like a cyclone had struck it. That’s how I got the name that was later shortened to ‘Cy.’”
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Young went 36-12 in 1892 with a league-best 1.92 earned run average. Over the next six seasons with the Spiders, Young never won fewer than 21 games.