Boston Red Sox: 30 Greatest Players in Team History

23 of 31

View image |

9: Cy Young, SP (1901-1908)

While already established as the best pitcher in baseball with the Cleveland Spiders and St. Louis Cardinals of the National League from 1890-1900, Cy Young did not join the Boston franchise until he was 34-years-old in 1901. That was when the American League was first given Major League status, and their teams were raiding National League rosters.

The Boston Americans signed Young away from the National League on a $3,500 contract, and he dominated at an even higher level. In 1901, Young had arguably the greatest pitching season in professional baseball history, going 33-10 with a 1.62 ERA. He led the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts (158), becoming the first ever player to record the Triple Crown for pitching.

Young went on to lead the league in wins again with a 32-11 record in 1902 and a 28-9 mark in 1903. He was obviously a huge part in Boston’s World Series championship in 1903. It was a different game back then, but Young seemingly pitched all of the time for the Americans/Red Sox, putting up incredible innings totals that would never even be considered in today’s game.

In his eight years with the Boston Franchise, Young only pitched less than 300 innings two times, 287.2 in a down 1906 season, and 299 at 41-years-old in 1908, going 21-11 with an career-best 1.26 ERA. That 1908 season was the last of Young’s career with the Red Sox as he was traded back to Cleveland prior to the 1909 season. Cy Young retired following the 1911 season.

Young had a great career before he ever came to Boston, but his years here could be considered the best of his career. He had many more wins with Cleveland (241 to 192), but Young’s career 2.00 ERA with the Red Sox franchise is far and away the lowest he had with any other organization.

He holds the major league record for career wins with 511, with nearly 100 more than Walter Johnson’s second place total of 417. With the incredible amount of work over the course of his career, Young also has the most losses of all-time with 316. His 815 career starts, 749 complete games and 7,356 career innings pitched are all far and away major league records as well.

Young is undoubtedly one of the greatest pitchers of all-time, and while all of his success did not come in Boston, a lot of it did.

Somehow, Young did not make the cut for the inaugural Hall of Fame class in 1936, but he was inducted in 1937. While he was inducted as a member of the Cleveland Spiders, make no mistake, his time in Boston had a ton to do with that induction.

Next: Number Eight