Denton True “Cy” Young was born on March 29, 1867, in Gilmore, Ohio. Young was one of the best pitchers in history, setting numerous records he still holds today.
The oldest of five children, Denton Young (or Farmer Young as he was referred to as a child) attended school until sixth grade. After that, he left to help out on the family farm.
Young played on several baseball teams as a child and into his teens, pitching and playing second base. After playing with the semi-pro team from Carrollton in 1888, Young was offered a chance to join the minor league team in Canton. At the tryout to join the team, Young made an impression on the scouts, saying “I almost tore the boards off the grandstand with my fast ball.” In fact, his fastball destroyed the fences, making them look like they’d been hit by a cyclone. Reporters started calling him Cyclone, which they later shortened to Cy, a nickname he would use for the rest of his life.
Young played for the Canton team for one year, winning 15 games and losing 15. By the end of the season, the major league Cleveland Spiders signed him to join their team. Young had his major league debut on August 6, 1890, pitching a three-hit 8 to 1 win over the Chicago Colts.
The following year, Young had his first of fifteen 20-win seasons. Then in 1897, he pitched his first no-hitter on September 18 against the Cincinnati Reds. Two years later, Young and many of his teammates were sent to the St. Louis Browns (as both teams had the same owner). He spent two years with the team and found his favorite catcher, Lou Criger. At this time, Young was earning the maximum yearly salary paid by the National League.
In 1901, after the American League was formed, Young accepted an offer to play for the Boston Red Sox (then called the Boston Americans). By then, he was well on his way to becoming the most successful pitcher in baseball. He pitched in four games for the Red Sox during the first World Series of 1903, which Boston won. He hurled three no-hitters in 1904, the same year he threw a perfect game and pitched 24 consecutive hitless innings. In his final years, he played for the Cleveland Naps and the Boston Rustlers. Young’s last victory came on September 22, 1911, though he would lose his final game two weeks later.
After retiring from the game, Young worked on his farm, managed the Cleveland Green Sox, and did odd jobs. In 1937, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and was one of the first players to donate mementos. Young died on November 4, 1955, in Newcomerstown, Ohio.
Cy Young still holds many baseball records, including most career wins (511), most innings pitched (7,356), most career games started (815), most consecutive innings pitched (25 1/3), and most complete games (749). The prestigious Cy Young Award is presented to one outstanding pitcher in the National and American leagues at the end the season.
Click here for more on Young from the Baseball Hall of Fame.