Detroit is the first team in Major League history with three consecutive Cy Young Award winners on its roster, and the seventh franchise that has boasted three different Cy winners at the same time. The question now is whether the Tigers can join the 1978 and 2000 Yankees and the 1995 Braves as the only clubs to turn that advantage into a World Series title.
When the Tigers traded for David Price, they did something not even those vaunted Braves rotations of the 1990s could pull off. The left-hander won the 2012 American League Cy Young Award with Tampa Bay, sandwiched around honors for Justin Verlander in 2011 and Max Scherzer in 2013 and he awaits his first start early next week.
The rich get richer
|Year||Team||Cy Young trio|
|2014||Tigers||Justin Verlander, David Price, Max Scherzer|
|2009||Giants||Randy Johnson, Barry Zito, Tim Lincecum|
|2002||Braves||Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, John Smoltz|
|2001||Braves||Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, John Smoltz|
|2001||Red Sox||Bret Saberhagen, David Cone, Pedro Martinez|
|2000||Yankees||Dwight Gooden, Roger Clemens, David Cone|
|1999||Braves||Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, John Smoltz|
|1998||Braves||Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, John Smoltz|
|1998||Red Sox||Bret Saberhagen, Dennis Eckersley, Pedro Martinez|
|1997||Braves||Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, John Smoltz|
|1996||Braves||Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, John Smoltz|
|1995||Braves||Steve Bedrosian, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux|
|1994||Braves||Steve Bedrosian, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux|
|1993||Braves||Steve Bedrosian, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux|
|1981||Orioles||Jim Palmer, Mike Flanagan, Steve Stone|
|1980||Rangers||Fergie Jenkins, Gaylord Perry, Sparky Lyle|
|1980||Orioles||Jim Palmer, Mike Flanagan, Steve Stone|
|1978||Yankees||Catfish Hunter, Sparky Lyle, Ron Guidry|
Six other franchises have enjoyed the company of three different Cy winners on the same roster, some multiple times. It was done most recently by the 2009 Giants, whose staff included that year's National League Cy Young winner, Tim Lincecum, along with Barry Zito (2002 AL winner) and Randy Johnson ('95 AL, 1999-2002 NL).
The Yankees have pulled it off twice, and two of their 27 World Series have been helped by having three Cy winners at the same time. They were the first team to do so, in 1978, when Ron Guidry won the AL Cy Young and joined Sparky Lyle ('77) and Catfish Hunter ('74 in Oakland) for the honor. That was for a repeat. In 2000, it was for a three-peat when the Yankee staff included Dwight Gooden (1985 with Mets), Roger Clemens (seven Cy Youngs) and David Cone ('94 in Kansas City).
The Braves may never have had three consecutive Cy Young winners, but they remain the standard in any discussion about Cy roster trifectas. From 1993-02, there was only one season in which they failed to have three different Cy winners on their roster, and that was only because John Smoltz was injured and missed the 2000 season.
From 1993-95, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and reliever Steve Bedrosian -- who had won a 1987 Cy Young with Philadelphia -- each could claim the honor. Then Smoltz won his first in 1996. Had Bedrosian been able to play at least one more game, instead of finishing his career in '95, the Braves might have become the only club to date with four Cy winners on the same roster.
The Braves and Red Sox have both done it in the same year -- twice. In 1998, the Red Sox featured three pitchers who all won Cy Youngs with different clubs: Pedro Martinez (Montreal in 1997), Bret Saberhagen (1985 and '89 in Kansas City) and Dennis Eckersley (Oakland in 1992, the last reliever to win a Cy). In 2001, Martinez and Saberhagen were joined by Cone. Both of those years, Glavine-Maddux-Smoltz meant Cy trifectas for Atlanta.
The 1980 season was the only one in which two clubs within the same league each had three Cy winners on the same roster. Texas featured Fergie Jenkins (Cubs in '71), Lyle (Yankees in '77) and Gaylord Perry ('72 in Cleveland and '78 in San Diego). Baltimore did it with Jim Palmer (1973, '75-76), Mike Flanagan ('79) and Steve Stone ('80). That Orioles team was the only one besides the Maddux-Glavine-Smoltz clubs that earned each of its Cy Youngs within the franchise, instead of bringing them aboard as Price just did to Detroit.
While three individual Cy Young winners on one roster is most impressive, it should not be overlooked that there actually are now three contenders who claim actual Cy trophies. Jake Peavy won the 2007 NL Cy Young with San Diego, and his acquisition by the Giants means he joins Lincecum, who won in 2008-09. And the Dodgers have three, if you count Zack Greinke's 2009 award and Clayton Kershaw's pair won in 2011 and '13.
The first time a club featured multiple Cy Young winners was in 1963, when Sandy Koufax followed Don Drysdale's '62 honor for the Dodgers. The Cy was first handed out in 1956 to Don Newcombe of Brooklyn.