After starting to run thin on good subjects to redo MVP's for the next natural progression would be to move on to Cy Youngs. Now Culloden/Vern suggested 1969 & 1983 A.L. Cy Young's to me and then I decided I'd throw the 1982 A.L. Cy Young in there. But as I started doing them I realized that there was a common theme with the '82 and '83 redos and that was the underrated greatness of Dave Stieb. So I've expanded I decied to do four redos in one, examining the period from 1982 to 1985 when Steib was the most consistent and best overall pitcher in the game.
The 1982 A.L. Cy Young is as good a place as any to start when it comes to Cy Young redos as it featured quite possibly the worst pitcher ever to win a Cy Young in the Brewers' Pete Vukovich. In '82 Vukovich benefitted from two things, playing in a pitcher's park and being supported by the far the best offense in the league. He finished the season with an 18-6 record and an unimpressive 3.34 ERA, the highest among all pitcher's who received votes. He was lucky to have such an ERA beyond playing a pitcher's park he had an atrocious K/BB ratio as he only struck out three more batters than he walked (105 to 102). He also posted an awful 1.50 WHIP, which I didn't bother to check but I'd be very surprised if any Cy Young award winner had one worse than that. But there was no 20 game winner in the A.L. and only one pitcher, Rick Sutcliffe, posted an ERA under 3 so with no standout pitcher the writer's made this incredibly bad choice.
Now the writers were fairly split on the voting as four other pitchers received first place votes but Vukovich received 14 total. Stieb received five first place votes but only finished in 4th place as the poor hitting Blue Jays only helped him to a 17-14 record. In fact it's kinda surprising he received that much support as writers usually can't look past the win/loss record. This would be a good time to point out that I give zero consideration to win/loss record as a pitcher's single season win/loss record is much too deceiving.
1) Pete Vukovich 2) Jim Palmer 3) Dan Quisenberry 4) Dave Stieb 5) Rick Sutcliffe 6) Geoff Zahn 7t) Bill Caudill 7t) Bob Stanley 9) Dan Petry
129 ERA+, 1.63 K/BB, 1.14 WHIP, 53.9 VORP, 20 Win Shares
159 ERA+, 3.83 K/BB, 1.01 WHIP, 38.6 VORP, 22 Win Shares
138 ERA+, 1.88 K/BB, 1.20 WHIP, 65.0 VORP, 25 Win Shares
Now Stieb's numbers don't blow you away in '82 but in a weak year for candidates he was the best choice. I'm kind of surprised the writers didn't give Palmer a lifetime achievement Cy Young here but he only had 15 wins. Would have at least been a better choice than Vukovich. As you see with Quisenberry, unlike with the MVP I do believe closers can be viable candidates to win a Cy Young in certain years.
This year features another not so glamerous Cy Young pick in the White Sox LaMarr Hoyt. Better known for his cocaine problems now, Hoyt holds the distinction of having the highest ERA ever for a Cy Young winner at 3.66. Now in fairness to Hoyt is peripheral numbers weren't bad, unlike with Vukovich, but he was definently a pitcher who won simply because of his win total as he won 24 games largely due to having the top offense in the league supporting him. Again though it was another year with a lot of strong candidates.
Hoyt's main competition was Dan Quisenberry who received nine first place votes as he had then single season record of 45 saves with a 1.94 ERA. He was though just as dominant as those numbers indicate and did it 139 innings pitched. Steib actually had a better record (17-12) and ERA (3.04) than the previous year but this time around he didn't receive a single vote which I'd attribute to having four 20 game winners instead of zero the previous year.
1) LaMarr Hoyt 2) Dan Quisenberry 3) Jack Morris 4) Richard Dotson 5) Ron Guidry 6) Scott McGregor
117 ERA+, 2.80 K/BB, 1.16 WHIP, 61.4 VORP, 20 Win Shares
142 ERA+, 2.01 K/BB, 1.14 WHIP, 68.9 VORP, 24 Win Shares
210 ERA+, 4.36 K/BB, 0.93 WHIP, 48.5 VORP, 28 Win Shares
Quis was never Mr. Photogenic.
Even though he had a better season than '82, I couldn't pass on the dominance of Quisenberry this time around.
Only going over this one briefly as I already kind of touched on it in the 1984 A.L. MVP Redo and if you remember I already gave the answer away to this one.
Willie Hernandez won the award in a tight vote over Quisenberry. Would have been quite interesting if Herandez won the MVP but didn't win the Cy Young. Bert Blyleven and Mike Boddicker also received solid support. Steib went 16-8 with a 2.83 ERA but garnered only one 3rd place vote.
1) Willie Hernandez 2) Dan Quisenberry 3) Bert Blyleven 4) Mike Boddicker 5) Dan Petry 6) Frank Viola 7t) Jack Morris 7t) Dave Stieb
132 ERA+, 2.36 K/BB, 1.14 WHIP, 60.6 VORP, 23 Win Shares
204 ERA+, 3.11 K/BB, 0.94 WHIP, 52.3 VORP, 24 Win Shares
145 ERA+, 2.25 K/BB, 1.14 WHIP, 75.4 VORP, 25 Win Shares
This was Steib's best year and the year he most deserved to win the award yet he receives almost no support. 3rd place was tough as I gave considertion to Quisenberry, Boddicker, and Blyleven.
Out of these four years this one was certainly the least controversial and in fact I don't think it's ever been disputed. Bret Saberhagen, in just in second season, went 20-6 with a 2.87 ERA with a near sweep of the first place votes. I wouldn't have even given this one a look if it weren't to see if possible that Steib a 3rd Cy Young redo.
Ron Guidry was only the other pitcher to receive any real support as he won 22 games. Steib had to be the hard luck pitcher of all-time with this season as he won the ERA title with a 2.48 ERA and played on a team that won 99 games with a good offense. Despite that he finsihed with only a 14-13 record so to no surprise he received little support. One interesting vote was Bert Blyleven receiving a first place vote with a 17-16 record which is shocking but kudos to one writer in 1985 thinking outside the box even though it wasn't the right choice.
1) Bret Saberhagen 2) Ron Guidry 3t) Bert Blyleven 3t) Dan Quisenberry 5) Charlie Liebrandt 6) Doyle Alexander 7t) Britt Burns 7t) Donnie Moore 7t) Dave Stieb 10) Mike Moore
135 ERA+, 2.75 K/BB, 1.15 WHIP, 64.9 VORP, 23 Win Shares
171 ERA+, 1.74 K/BB, 1.14 WHIP, 78.1 VORP, 24 Win Shares
145 ERA+, 4.16 K/BB, 1.06 WHIP, 68.2 VORP, 24 Win Shares
It was close but I give Saberhagen the nod here. Hey baseball writers congrats on being right 25% of the time!
So there you have it for a four year period Stieb was the 1st or 2nd best pitcher in the league and it's a crime that he didn't come away with at least one Cy Young. Injuries shortened his career and possible bid for the Hall of Fame although even then due his bad luck his low win total would kept him out. People who try to argue Jack Morris for the Hall always try to proclaim him as the 80's Pitcher of the Decade but that honor belongs to Stieb.