R.A. Dickey Makes Knuckleball History

New York Mets right-hander R.A. Dickey accomplished in 2012 what no other knuckleball pitcher had been able to do previously – win a Cy Young Award. Dickey was an overwhelming choice this year as the outstanding pitcher in the National League as announced on the MLB Network.

Dickey, 38, was named first on 27 ballots and second on the other five of those cast by two writers representing each league city to score 209 points, based on a tabulation system that rewards seven points for first place, four for second, three for third, two for fourth and one for fifth. Dickey was 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA and led the league in innings pitched (233 2/3), strikeouts (230), complete games (5) and shutouts (3). He was the only pitcher listed on every ballot.

Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw (14-4, 2.53 ERA), the 2011 winner, was the runner-up with two first-place votes and 96 points. Receiving one first-place vote apiece were Washington Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez (21-8, 2.89 ERA), who placed third overall; Cincinnati Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto (19-9, 2.78 ERA), who was fourth, and Atlanta Braves right-hander Craig Kimbrel (3-1, 1.01 ERA, 42 SV), who ranked fifth. In all, nine pitchers gained mention.

It marked the fifth time a Mets pitcher has been honored. Tom Seaver won the award in 1969, 1973 and 1975. Dwight Gooden was the winner in 1985.

There had been three Cy Young Award elections, two in the NL and one in the American League, in which a knuckleball pitcher was a runner-up. In the 1979 NL election, the Houston Astros’ Joe Niekro finished second to the Chicago Cubs’ Bruce Sutter, 72-66. In the 1972 AL election, the Chicago White Sox’ Wilbur Wood ran second to the Cleveland Indians’ Gaylord Perry, 64-58. In the 1969 NL election back when voters could chose only one pitcher, the Braves’ Phil Niekro got one vote that prevented a unanimous nod to Seaver.

Kershaw is the eighth Cy Young Award winner and fifth in the NL to finish second the year after he won the award. The others were the Braves’ Warren Spahn in 1958, the Braves’ Tom Glavine in 1992, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Brandon Webb in 2007 and the Philadelphia Phillies’ Roy Halladay in 2011 in the NL; the Oakland A’s Jim “Catfish” Hunter in 1975, the Baltimore Orioles’ Jim Palmer in 1977 and the Detroit Tigers’ Justin Verlander this year in the AL.

Source: MLB Media