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Trivia: What do These Players Have in Common? #2

Continuing with a series on baseball trivia.

The question is: What do these players have in common?

Try to figure it out and leave your answer in the comments.

See my answer within the post.

1981 - Villain #1 Fernando Valenzuela (LAD)
1982 Topps, card #6.

1983 - Villain #2 John Denny (PHL)
1983 Topps, card #211. This is one airbrush job I really like.

1988 - Villain #3 Orel Hershiser (LAD)
1989 Fleer, card #11 of 12.

1995 - Villain #4 Greg Maddux (ATL)

1995 Score, card #32.

2014 - Villain #5 Clayton Kershaw (LAD)
2014 Topps, card #604.

I'd be shocked if anyone has the answer at this point.

Here are some clues:

The year of the Villain correlates to the year of the Victim. 

Victim #1  Tom Seaver (CIN)
1981 Kellogg's, card #38.

Victim #2 Mario Soto (CIN)
1983 Fleer, card #603.

Victim #3 Danny Jackson (CIN)
1988 Topps, card #55T.

Victim #4 Pete Schourek (CIN)
1996 Topps, card #112.

Victim #5 Johnny Cueto (CIN)  
2013 Topps, card #196.

Here are the pitching records for the given years:

                      WAR    W     L      ERA         IP           SO

Valenzuela       4.8     13    7        2.48         192.1        180
Seaver              4.0      14    2        2.54           166.0         87

Denny              7.4      19    6      2.37     242.2  139
Soto                 6.8      17   13        2.70           273.2        242

Hershiser **    7.2    23     8      2.26         267.0  178
Jackson            5.0     23     8         2.73          260.2         161

Maddux            9.7    19     2         1.63          209.2  181
Schourek          4.1     18     7         3.22          190.1        160

Kershaw           7.7     21     3         1.77         198.1  239
Cueto                6.6     20     9          2.25        243.2        242

* - Strike-shortened season.
** - Broke Don Drysdale's record by pitching 59 consecutive innings without allowing a run.

In case you don't know, each of the villains won the Cy Young award in the year given. 

Last chance to answer (or take a guess)...

Here's the answer:

Each of the victims (i.e., Reds pitchers) came in second place in Cy Young voting to the respective numbered villain.

The Cy Young award came into being in 1956 for the best pitcher in either league (i.e., one winner), and changed it to the best pitcher in each league in 1967 (i.e., two winners). 

The Cincinnati Reds have NEVER had a Cy Young award winner, but have been bridesmaids FIVE times, just since 1981 (three times to Dodger pitchers -  grrr!). 

In fact, the Dodgers have had 8 pitchers pick up 12 awards, and the Phillies, Braves, and Red Sox have had pitchers pick up 7 awards since 1956. The Mets have been in existence since 1962 and they too have had pitchers rack up 7 Cy Young awards. Those players/teams alone account for almost 63% of all Cy Young awards given to date!

Historically, the Reds — at least in the modern era of baseball — have been known more for their bats than their pitching. A tool box full of Reds players have won the Most Valuable Player award; however, the Cy Young award remains elusive.

That's not all, here are some other great Reds pitchers and their great seasons (again, in modern times), and their villains...

Villain: Don Drysdale
1982 Topps Kmart, card #42 of 44.

Victim: Bob Purkey
1962 Topps, card #120.

                     WAR    W     L       ERA         IP           SO
Drysdale        5.4   25     9       2.83        314.1 232      Plus, Drysdale had 1 save.
Purkey            7.3      23      5        2.81          288.1        141      Purkey tied for 3rd in voting.

Villain: Sandy Koufax
1982 Topps Kmart, card #4 of 44.

Victim: Jim Maloney
1964 Topps, card #420.
                        WAR    W   L       ERA         IP           SO
Koufax            10.7      25   5       1.88         311.0 306    Koufax got 100% of the votes.
Maloney            5.0      23        7           2.77           250.1       265

Villain: Tom Glavine
1991 Fleer, card #689.
Victim: Jose Rijo
1991 Leaf, card #326.

                    WAR    W   L       ERA         IP           SO
Glavine          8.5 20 11          2.55        246.2 192
Rijo                5.5    15      6          2.51          204.1        172

Don't get me wrong. I think the voters made the right choices in each year shown. I just still find it hard to believe the Reds have come up short after all these years.

Here's a prediction: Reds pitcher Luis Castillo will win the Cy Young award in 2020! And, he's going to have stiff competition from Reds pitchers Sonny Gray and Trevor Bauer.

2020 Topps, card #CIN-3.

After writing this, I'm not sure if this post has been a trivia question, a cry in my beer moment, or a Dodgers-pitchers hype post!

Thanks again for hanging in there.

CinciCuse Bill


  1. At least the Reds have 16 no-hitters. The Padres have 0. They've been around for over 50 years... and haven't had one. The Marlins have been around about half that time and have 6. Ugh.

    1. I didn't know that so I had to look it up - I wouldn't have thought that, esp. with 4 Cy Young award winners (3 starters).

  2. I was thinking that they all won the games that eliminated the same team from the playoffs, but I couldn't come up with a team that was in the playoffs all those years. (There probably wasn't one!)

    1. I WISH the Reds were contenders all those years.


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