New York, NY, United States (4E Sports) – New York Mets starter R.A. Dickey made history Wednesday when he became the first knuckleballer to capture the National League Cy Young award.
Meanwhile, David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays beat Detroit Tigers’ Justin Verlander by four points in the closest balloting in history to win the American League version of the award.
Dickey, who went 20-6 last season, garnered 27 of 32 first-place votes and 209 overall points from members of the Baseball Writers Association of America to beat Los Angeles Dodgers Clayton Kershaw and Washington Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez.
Kershaw finished second with two first-place votes and 96 points while Gio Gonzalez received one first-place vote and 93 points.
“Clayton and Gio were both just supernatural in the way that they perform,” Dickey told the MLB Network. “I’ve had to hit against them both, and it is ridiculous trying to pick up the ball on those guys. They gave everybody fits. Just being mentioned in the same breath as those guys is an honor.
“But for me, this is an honor to be shared. It’s a great honor, and I am not a self-made man by any stretch of the imagination. There have been countless people who have poured into me in a way that has changed my life — not only on the field, but off,” Dickey added.
The 38-year-old Dickey became the third Met to win the award behind Tom Seaver, who received the honor three times in 1969, 1973 and 1975 and Dwight Gooden, who captured it in 1985.
Dickey’s three shutouts in 2012 were the most by a Met since David Cone’s five in 1992. He led the National League in quality starts (27), strikeouts (230) and innings pitched (233 2/3) while finishing second in ERA at 2.73 to Kershaw’s 2.53.
Later, Dickey congratulated Price on Twitter, calling him a “good friend and fantastic competitor”.
Price went 20-5 with a league-best 2.56 ERA. He racked up 205 strikeouts in 211 innings and held opponents to a .318 slugging percentage, lowest in the AL, while making a Major League-high 23 starts of seven innings or more.
He pitched seven innings or more in 23 of his 31 starts and allowed two earned runs or fewer in 23 as well. He tied Verlander for the league lead in quality starts with 25, and he pitched more games of seven innings and three or fewer earned runs than anyone in the AL.
“It’s different pressure. I’m used to the pressure and the adrenaline out on the field,” Price said. “I don’t know how you get used to this. You can’t get used to this. I would love to be in this position more times. Very humbled and very blessed to be here right now. This is awesome.”