Pedro Martinez pitched another shutout, winning the American League Cy Young Award in a unanimous vote. Now the question is whether he'll be elected most valuable player, too.
"It would mean a lot, probably more than this Cy Young alone," Martinez said today after the Cy Young voting was announced. "I've already achieved that, so the MVP would be something different, especially to a pitcher."
Martinez became only the fourth pitcher to win the AL Cy Young Award unanimously, and joined Gaylord Perry and Randy Johnson, who won his first NL Cy Young on Monday, as the only pitchers to win the honor in each league.
Martinez, 23-4 with a 2.07 earned run average for the Boston Red Sox, received all 28 first-place votes for 140 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Baltimore's Mike Mussina was next, getting 16 seconds and six thirds for 54 points, followed by New York Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera with 27 points.
It was Mussina's best finish in Cy Young voting; he has placed fourth three times.
As for winning, "I pretty much expected it," Martinez said.
The only previous unanimous AL winners were Denny McLain (1968), Ron Guidry (1978) and Roger Clemens (1986 and 1998).
Two years ago, Martinez won the NL Cy Young Award for Montreal and gave it to Hall of Famer Juan Marichal. Martinez is keeping this one.
"The first one is always really special," Martinez said. "This one also makes me feel special, especially in the other league. People say it's a lot more offense than the National League."
Seven NL pitchers have won in a shutout: Sandy Koufax (1963, 1965 and 1966), Bob Gibson (1968), Steve Carlton (1972), Rick Sutcliffe (1984), Dwight Gooden (1985), Orel Hershiser (1988) and Greg Maddux (1994 and 1995).
The only pitchers to win both AL Cy Young and MVP in the same year were McLain (1968), Vida Blue (1971), Rollie Fingers (1981), Willie Hernandez (1984) and Clemens (1986). Don Newcombe (1956), Koufax (1963) and Gibson (1968) did it in the National League.
Martinez, a 28-year-old right-hander, started the season 15-2, putting himself in position to become baseball's first 30-game winner since McLain with the 1968 Detroit Tigers.
"I think my best chance was this year," he said. "I think it could happen but it's going to be really difficult to get. The way the rotation is these days, you have to get every break. It's almost like being perfect for one year."
He went 8-2 in the second half, missing two weeks because of a stiff right shoulder.
Martinez had five wins more than anyone else in the AL, and his ERA was 1.37 runs better than the second-best in the league, New York's David Cone, who finished at 3.44.
Martinez led the AL with 313 strikeouts. Anaheim's Chuck Finley was second with 200.
Still, the ending of the season was disappointing. Martinez strained a back muscle and left in the fourth inning of Boston's postseason opener, and Cleveland rallied to win.
Martinez pitched six hitless innings of relief in Game 5. He entered in the fourth inning with the score 8-8, and the Red Sox went on to win 12-8.
Then he sent the Yankees to their only loss in 19 postseason games, beating Clemens 12-1 in Game 3 of the AL Championship Series. Martinez struck out 12 in seven shutout innings, and he did it despite the injury, which hampered his fastball.
"It feels a lot better. It seems completely normal now," he said. "I have my therapist working with me every day, [I'm] also doing a lot of swimming. I'm not really doing any exercise or a lot of weights."