20 March 2014

thoughts of fernando and newk

i was thinking about fernando valenzuela and don newcombe last fall as jose fernandez made his late season run.  if you have forgotten, the marlins rookie was 8-2 with a 1.43 era over the last 3 months of the season, and had 103 strikeouts in 88 innings during that time.  i was thinking about fernando because back in 1981, he became the first pitcher to win both the rookie of the year award and the cy young award in the same season, and i thought that fernandez had a shot at duplicating the feat.  however, because clayton kershaw won the cy young over fernandez, valenzuela remains the only pitcher to win both awards in the same season.  crisis averted.  now, here are a couple of el toro's cards that i've had scanned for a while.

1987 topps glossy send in
1988 topps
 and 1995 upper deck electric diamond
and 2004 fleer greats of the game
back in dodger blue.  it should be noted that fernando finished 5th in the league mvp voting in 1981 - the highest he would get in his career.

i mentioned up top that i was also thinking of don newcombe.  like fernando, newcombe won the rookie of the year award.  newk won his in 1949, but he didn't win the cy young award that year, mostly because the award didn't exist.  here are some cards of newks' that i've been saving for a rainy day.

2004 upper deck sweet spot classics
2007 upper deck sweet spot classics
and 2005 topps pristine (uncirculated)
now seems like a good time to show a couple other cards from that set - davey lopes
and don zimmer.
but i digress.

newcombe may well have won the cy young had it existed in 1949, but he did win it once it came into being.  newcombe was the very first person to win the award when it was initiated in 1956.  and that was when there was just one award for all of major league baseball.  he also won the mvp award that same season, making him the first player in history to win the rookie of the year, cy young, and mvp awards.  here's a 1961 topps card celebrating his mvp win that newk signed for me through the mail four years ago.
dwight gooden came as close to the trifecta as fernando had when, in 1985, the 1984 rookie of the year won the cy young award and finished 5th in the mvp voting.  ultimately, it was 2006 al rookie of the year justin verlander who, in 2011, became the second pitcher to achieve the feat.  still, newcombe is the only national league pitcher to do it, which brings us back to fernandez.  fernandez certainly looks like he has the stuff to pull it off, and he is one-third of the way there.  of course, he pitches for the marlins so he will have to be spectacular if he is to win an mvp award any time soon.

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