NEW YORK R.A. Dickey languished in the minors for 14 years, bouncing from one team to another before finally perfecting that perplexing knuckleball that made him a major league star.
David Price was the top pick in the draft and an ace by age 25, throwing 98 mph heat with a left arm live enough to make the most hardened scout sing.
Raised only 34 miles apart in central Tennessee, Dickey and Price won baseball's Cy Young awards on Wednesday -- one by a wide margin, the other in a tight vote.
Two paths to the pantheon of pitching have rarely been more different.
"Isn't that awesome?" said Dickey, the first knuckleballer to win a Cy Young. "It just shows you there's not just one way to do it, and it gives hope to a lot of people."
Dickey said he jumped up and yelled in excitement, scaring one of his kids, when he saw on television that Price edged Justin Verlander for the American League prize. Both winners are represented by Bo McKinnis, who watched the announcements with Dickey at his home in Nashville, Tenn.
"I guess we can call him Cy agent now," Price quipped on a conference call.
The hard-throwing lefty barely beat out Verlander in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, preventing the Detroit Tigers' ace from winning consecutive Cy Youngs.
Runner-up two years ago, Price was the pick this time. He received 14 of 28 first-place votes and finished with 153 points to 149 for Verlander, chosen first on 13 ballots.
"It means a lot," Price said. "It's something that I'll always have. It's something that they can't take away from me."
Other than a 1969 tie between Mike Cuellar and Denny McLain, it was the closest race in the history of the AL award.