Rick Sutcliffe, who helped turn the Chicago Cubs from losers into winners in a single season, was unanimously elected the National League's 1984 Cy Young Award winner, it was announced today.
He was the first unanimous selection since Steve Carlton of the Philadelphia Phillies won in 1977 -- he also was a unanimous selection in '72. The Los Angeles Dodgers' Sandy Koufax ('63, '65, '66) and the St. Louis Cardinals' Bob Gibson ('68, '70) also have been unanimous selections.
Sutcliffe, a 6-foot-7 right-hander, was traded June 13 from the Cleveland Indians to the Cubs, who had finished fifth in 1983. Sutcliffe won 14 games in a row for a 16-1 NL record, leading the Cubs to the NL East Division title.
Sutcliffe, a 28-year-old six-year veteran, was first on all 24 ballots, cast by two members of the Baseball Writers Association of America from each NL city.
That gave Sutcliffe 120 points to 45 for runner-up Dwight Gooden of the New York Mets. Bruce Sutter of the Cardinals was third with 33 1/2 votes, followed by Joaquin Andujar of the Cardinals with 12 1/2, Rich Gossage of the San Diego Padres with three and Mario Soto of the Cincinnati Reds with two.
A first-place vote is worth five points, second-place three and third-place one.
In Chicago, Sutcliffe singled out Cubs catcher Jody Davis for helping him make the transition from the American League. "I didn't know anything about the league when I came here," Sutcliffe said. "I'm a different pitcher now than when I left (Cleveland). It was so exciting being involved in a pennant race that being considered for the award never really came into my mind."
Sutcliffe won the first game of the National League playoffs, at Wrigley Field against San Diego. He worked seven innings, gave up two hits and combined with Warren Brusstar on a 13-0 shutout. He was beaten, 6-3, by the Padres in the fifth and final game of the playoffs.
"Individual awards are nice to look at and hang on the wall, but they're just that," Sutcliffe said. "Right now, it's still tough to swallow what happened in San Diego.
"It was the most exciting summer of my entire life, but I'd gladly give this up to have been playing in a World Series. It still leaves one goal to be met."
Sutcliffe had a 2.69 earned run average and 155 strikeouts in 150 1/3 innings. He was the third Cubs' pitcher to win the award, joining Ferguson Jenkins in 1971 and Sutter in 1977.
Gooden, a 19-year-old rookie, had a 17-9 record, 2.60 ERA and led the majors with 276 strikeouts in 218 innings. Sutter set an NL record and tied the major-league mark with 45 saves.
Andujar was the league's only 20-game winner, going 20-14. Gossage had 25 saves, Soto was 18-7 with 185 strikeouts.