“Cy” was short for Cyclone, thanks in part to a blinding fastball that helped him win 511 games over a 22-year career. As such, his name will also forever be synonymous with brilliant pitching efforts; every season, the best pitcher from each league is awarded an honor in his name.
Although Denton True Young may be one of the most recognized figures in franchise history, he actually did not join the Boston organization until he was 34 years old, 11 seasons after making his debut with the Cleveland Spiders of the National League. Even at that, he went on to have one of the most brilliant careers in a Boston uniform. With the franchise, he won 192 games, tied with Roger Clemens for most wins by a Boston pitcher.
Lured away from the St. Louis Cardinals in 1901 by Ban Johnson, the owner of the newly-established American League, Young’s “rights” went to owner Charles Somer to help the newly-formed Boston franchise compete with the cross-town Boston Braves. Young, to this point, had already won 286 games, an average of 26 per season, and had proven durable, often pitching on just one or two day’s rest. In his first season with Boston, Young delivered as promised; he won 33 games against 10 losses and recorded 158 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.62. His win total that season is second on the Boston record books only to “Smokey” Joe Wood, who won 34 in 1912.
One of his most memorable performances in Boston came on 05 May 1904, when he retired all 27 Philadelphia Athletic batters to become the first American League pitcher and just the third professional ball player to pitch a “perfect game.” Sandwiched around Young’s feat was the fact that he threw 23 consecutive no-hit innings, having thrown eight innings in two previous starts and six innings in the following start.
Young threw one other no-hitter in his Boston career in 1908 at the age of 41 in a win over New York. Young retired three years later in 1911 and became one of eight players enshrined in the Baseball Hall Of Fame’s first induction ceremony in 1937, along with other notables such as Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and Tris Speaker.