There is little doubt that pitching is defined by a name, and to some part even all of baseball: that name is Cy Young.
Denton True “Cy” Young played 21 years in professional baseball. During his career, Cy Young compiled 511 wins, 94 more wins than the second most winning pitcher. Young played in St Louis in 1899 and 1900: 1899 as the St Louis Perfectos and 1900 as the St Louis Cardinals.
It was E. C. Becker who made the deal to bring #1 pitcher to the mound in river city. In early 1899, only weeks after he purchased the St Louis Browns, Becker’s first business decision was to deal with Cleveland Spiders owners’ Frank and Stanley Robison. The deal included a roster swap between the two clubs. In essence, the Spiders moved to St Louis and the Browns moved to Cleveland.
St Louis fans deserved a better squad on the field and the swap was made. Becker traded equal share of his baseball franchise to the Robison brothers for the swap. The trade also appears to have made a deep imprint within Cleveland’s sport history: the Spiders disbanded the following season; in 1924, the Cleveland Browns became a team in the American Negro League; and in 1946 the name resurfaced as the football franchise of today.
Cy Young won 20+ games in 15 seasons and 30 games in 5 seasons, he leads the league with most innings pitched (7356), most career starts (815), most complete games (749), most innings without a hit (25 1/3) plus he threw the first perfect game in modern history. He was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1937. A year after his death in 1957, baseball created the “Cy Young Award” to honor the season’s best pitcher each year.
On opening day in 1899, in front of 18,000 St Louis fans, Cy Young stepped onto the stage and delivered the first pitch of the best season start in St Louis Cardinal’s baseball history* (19-6). E. C. Becker watched the hurler from the owner’s box with his children. The first month of that season brought hopes of a national championship team, but the woes of daily play and great competition pushed the team into a fifth place finish that year.
Cy Young’s two years in St Louis makes him a special part of the teams history, playing as both a Perfecto and Cardinal.
*In 2015, the record was broken going 20-6.
Wikipedia – Cy Young
St Louis Post Dispatch and writer Derrick Goold – Did Cy Young Throw First Pitch In Cardinal History?
St Louis Daily Globe Democrat – Issues: April 15, 1899; April 16, 1899; March 28, 1899.
Sporting Life Magazine – March 25, 1899, Jan 23, 1897