Monday, June 16, 2008

Cy Young on the Fourth of July

Cy Young in Chicago in 1905This photograph of Cy Young was taken in Chicago in 1905.

Cy Young (for whom baseball's Cy Young pitching award was named) was the pitcher on opening day of the 1905 season for the Boston Americans. (The Americans would take on their nickname, Red Sox, as their official team name less than three years later. But they were just the "Americans" when they started out in 1901, to distinguish themselves from the National League team, the Boston Beaneaters.)

Cy Young's birth name was actually Denton True Young; he earned the nickname "Cy" from "Cyclone", for the speed of his fastball. (And the Boston papers had a tendency to refer to him as "Old Cy".)

On the Fourth of July, 1905, the 38-year-old Young was the starting pitcher in the second game of a doubleheader against the Philadelphia Athletics. He pitched 13 scoreless innings (after the opening six) but went on to lose the game in the 20th inning.

Opposing pitcher Rube Waddell also pitched the full 20 innings for Philadelphia, and both pitchers would eventually find themselves in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Cy Young later said of this game: “For my part, I think it was the greatest game of ball I ever took part in.”

Illustration Credits and References

The photo originally appeared in the Chicago Daily News in 1905; I found it at this site.

The Philadelphia Athletics Historical Society has an excellent write-up about this pitching duel.

Lots of baseball information available here:

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