Post-season awards are being handed out, including the Cy Young Award, given to the best pitcher in each league.
1970s Baseball Newsletter selected our own 1970s single-season Cy Young award winners for each franchise.
Here are our picks for the winners from the National League East:
Philadelphia Phillies –
Steve Carlton, 1972 27-10, 1.97 ERA, 310 Ks
In his first season after being traded from the Cardinals, Carlton won his first of four career Cy Young Awards, and captured the NL pitching triple crown. His 27 wins were the most for any pitcher in the decade, and made up 46% of the last place Phillies’ total for the year. Lefty recorded eight shutouts, and completed an NL-best 30 games of his 41 starts.
New York Mets –
Tom Seaver, 1971 20-10, 1.76 ERA, 289 Ks
Though he won Cy Young Awards for New York in 1969, 1973, and 1975, Seaver’s best season could have come in ’71, when he posted the lowest ERA for any starting pitcher in the decade. His NL-leading 289 strikeouts were a career high; as was his 4.04 K/BB ratio, 21 complete games, and major-league leading .946 WHIP.
Pittsburgh Pirates –
John Candelaria, 1977 20-5, 2.34 ERA
The 23-year-old lefty led the majors in both winning percentage and earned run average. Candelaria walked just 50 batters in 230 innings, for an NL-best 1.95 BB/9. He barely edges Steve Blass’ 19-8 effort from 1972 for top Pirates honors.
St Louis Cardinals –
Bob Gibson, 1970 23-7, 3.12 ERA, 274Ks
In a year known for strong hitting throughout the majors, Gibson topped the NL in victories and set career highs in strikeouts and winning percentage. Although he would have several more strong years, 1970 marked the last of five times Gibson topped 20 wins in his career. He captured NL Cy Young honors and finished 4th in MVP voting.
Montreal Expos –
Mike Marshall, 1972 14-8, 1.78 ERA, 18 Sv
Steve Rogers had 13 wins with a 2.47 ERA in 1978, and Ross Grimsley won 20 games in ‘79, but Marshall recorded the two best Expos pitching seasons of the decade. In 1972 the rubber-armed reliever appeared in an NL-best 65 games and set career bests with a .202 batting average against and 1.112 WHIP. He followed that with 93 appearances and 31 saves in 1973.
Chicago Cubs –
Ferguson Jenkins, 1971 24-13, 2.77 ERA, 263Ks
The 1971 NL Cy Young winner topped the league with 24 wins, 39 game starts and 325 inning pitched; he led the major leagues with 30 complete games and 1.02 BB/9 innings, and his 7.11 K/BB was the best for any pitcher all decade. Jenkins just edges Bruce Sutter for the Cubs’ top spot; in ’77 the reliever saved 31 and his 1.34 ERA and 10.8 K/9 innings ratio topped all 1970s pitchers with 100+ innings pitched.
To read about our Cy Young selections for all 26 teams, check out the November 1970s Baseball Newsletter, now available for download. The Newsletter also has features on leading HR hitting clubs, the fate of World Series losers, League MVPs, and the greatest rookie tandems of the decade.
Order the November issue:
Joe Gersbeck is a baseball historian and lifetime fan/student of the game who lives in New Jersey with his wife and two sons. His website is http://www.1970sBaseball.com and his book, 1970s Baseball: A History and Analysis of the Decade’s Best Seasons, Teams, and Players is available on Amazon, B&N, and iBooks: