Pedro Martinez became only the fourth pitcher to win the American League Cy Young Award unanimously and joined Gaylord Perry and Randy Johnson as the only pitchers to win the honor in each league.
Martinez, 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA for the Boston Red Sox, received all 28 votes for 140 points in balloting announced today by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
"I pretty much expected it," Martinez said.
The only previous unanimous AL winners were Denny McLain (1968), Ron Guidry (1978) and Roger Clemens (1986 and 1998).
Two years ago, Martinez won the NL Cy Young Award for Montreal and gave it to Hall of Famer Juan Marichal. Martinez is keeping this one.
Boston's Pedro Martinez after winning his second Cy Young Award.(AP) Windows Media
Seven NL pitchers have won in a shutout: Sandy Koufax (1963, 1965 and 1966), Bob Gibson (1968), Steve Carlton (1972), Rick Sutcliffe (1984), Dwight Gooden (1985), Orel Hershiser (1988) and Greg Maddux (1994 and 1995).
Martinez, a 28-year-old right-hander, started the season 15-2, putting himself in position to becombaseball's first 30-game winner since McLain with the 1968 Detroit Tigers.
"I think my best chance was this year," Martinez said. "I think it could happen but it's going to be really difficult to get. The way the rotation is these days, you have to get every break. It's almost like being perfect for one year."
He was the star of the All-Star game at Fenway Park, fanning Barry Larkin, Larry Walker and Sammy Sosa in the first, then striking out McGwire and Jeff Bagwell in the second around a grounder by Matt Williams.
But he followed with the worst start of his career nine runs and 12 hits in 3 2-3 innings against Florida. He then went on the disabled list because of a stiff right shoulder and didn't start again until Aug. 3.
He went 8-2 in the second half, finishing with big leads in all the major pitching categories. He had five wins more than anyone else, and his ERA was 1 1-3 runs better than the second-best in the league, New York's David Cone, who finished at 3.44.
|Pedro Martinez leaps into the arms of catcher Jason Varitek after winning the AL Division Series in Cleveland.|
Still, the ending of the season was disappointing. Martinez strained a back muscle and left in the fourth inning of Boston's postseason opener, and Cleveland rallied to win.
But Martinez pitched six hitless innings of relief in Game 5. He entered in the fourth inning with the score 8-8, and the Red Sox went on to win 12-8.
Then he sent the Yankees to their only loss in 19 postseason games, beating Clemens 12-1 in Game 3 of the AL Championship Series. Martinez struck out 12 in seven shutout innings, a Boston record for the postseason. And he did it despite the injury, which hampered his fastball.
"It feels a lot better. It seems completely normal now," Martinez said. "I have my therapist working with me every day, (I'm) also doing a lot of swimming. I'm not really doing any exercise or a lot of weights."
Martinez also is the co-favorite for the AL MVP award with Cleveland's Manny Ramirez, who had 165 RBIs. That award will be announced Thursday.
"It would mean a lot, probably more than this Cy Young alone," Martinez said. "I'e already achieved that, so the MVP would be something different, especially to a pitcher."
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