The top Cy Young duels in World Series history

Kershaw, Keuchel set to face off in Game 5 of Fall Classic

October 29th, 2017

When Los Angeles' and Houston's face off in Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday night at Minute Maid Park, it will not only be another pitching matchup for the ages, but also a good piece of trivia. It will mark the 18th time in MLB history that two previous Cy Young Award winners started in the same game of the Fall Classic.

The first instance was in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, when Yankees right-hander Bob Turley and Pirates right-hander Vern Law took the mound at Forbes Field (the Pirates won, 10-9, on Bill Mazeroski's walk-off home run). The most recent was in Game 1 of this year's Series, when Kershaw and Keuchel took the ball at Dodger Stadium.

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And that brings us to another good piece of trivia: With Kershaw and Keuchel facing each other for the second time in the same World Series, it will mark the sixth time that has happened: Sandy Koufax and Whitey Ford squared off in Games 1 and 4 of the 1963 Series, Bob Gibson and Denny McLain started Games 1 and 4 in '68, Tom Seaver and Mike Cuellar faced off in Games 1 and 4 in '69, Greg Maddux and Orel Hershiser started Games 1 and 5 in '95 and and Cliff Lee started Games 1 and 5 in '10.

If these matchups all seem more recent, remember that the Cy Young Award did not exist until 1956 and was not awarded in both leagues until '67. With that in mind, let's take a look back at some of the most memorable matchups between Cy Young Award winners in World Series history. Note: We are only considering matchups where both pitchers had already won the Cy Young Award at that point.

2010 World Series Game 5: Lincecum vs. Lee

Lincecum, who won back-to-back National League Cy Young Awards in 2008 and '09, turned in eight stellar innings for the Giants, giving up one run on three hits, walking two and striking out 10 in a 3-1 victory to clinch the franchise's first World Series title since 1954. His counterpart, Lee, allowed three runs -- all on a homer by Series MVP Edgar Renteria -- over seven innings. Lee was the 2008 American League Cy Young Award winner while with the Indians. Lincecum also bested Lee in Game 1, though neither pitcher was sharp, allowing a combined 10 runs.

1999 World Series Game 4: Roger Clemens vs. John Smoltz

At the time, Roger Clemens was a five-time Cy Young Award winner. He gave up one run over 7 2/3 innings to help the Yankees win a third consecutive World Series championship. Smoltz, the 1996 NL Cy Young Award winner, struck out 11 in seven innings, but gave up three runs, which was enough for New York to sweep the Series with a 4-1 victory.

1995 World Series Game 1: Maddux vs. Hershiser

With the Braves in the Fall Classic for the third time in five years -- but, to that point, without a title -- Maddux set the tone for Atlanta's five-game Series victory over Cleveland with a masterful Game 1 performance. The right-hander, who won four straight NL Cy Young Awards from 1992-95, tossed a complete game, yielding two unearned runs. Hershiser, the 1988 NL Cy Young Award winner while with the Dodgers, gave up three runs in six innings. Hershiser got the better of Maddux in a Game 5 masterpiece (two runs over eight innings), but the Braves won the Series in six.

1969 World Series Game 4: Seaver vs. Cuellar

This was a particularly special matchup, as these were the two Cy Young winners that year, and Cuellar (who shared the AL Cy Young with McLain) topped Seaver in Game 1 with a complete game in which he allowed just one run. But in Game 4, a thrilling extra-inning contest, Seaver tossed 10 dominant innings for the Mets, allowing just one run and outdueling Cuellar, who gave up one run in seven innings for the Orioles. New York won, 2-1, in 10 innings, and took the Series in five games.

1968 World Series Game 1: Gibson vs. McLain

In one of the greatest pitching performances in World Series history, Gibson shut out the Tigers on five hits, walking one and striking out 17 (a Series single-game record) in a 4-0 St. Louis victory. Gibson won the 1968 NL Cy Young and MVP awards, posting a 1.12 ERA. McLain, the winner of the Cy Young and MVP awards in the AL that season, gave up three runs (two earned) over five innings. Gibson beat McLain again in Game 4 with another complete game, but the Tigers won the Series in seven when Mickey Lolich outdueled Gibson, who threw another complete game.

1963 World Series Game 4: Koufax vs. Ford

In their second matchup of the World Series, Koufax tossed a complete game, giving up one run on six hits, while striking out eight, as the Dodgers completed a sweep of the Yankees. Koufax, that season's Cy Young Award winner (also the Cy Young winner in 1965 and '66), was named Series MVP. He outdueled 1961 Cy Young winner Ford, who gave up two runs (one earned) over seven innings. Koufax also got the win in their Game 1 showdown, striking out 15 in a complete game. Ford allowed five runs in five innings in the first meeting.