Pitchers with the most Cy Young Awards

Snell becomes 22nd pitcher to claim honor twice

November 15th, 2023

It's hard enough to win one Cy Young Award. Only the great aces win more than one.

MLB's top pitching honor was established on Feb. 4, 1956. Since then, just 22 pitchers have won multiple Cy Young Awards. On Wednesday, Blake Snell became the newest member of that club as he captured the National League Cy Young Award following a season in which he recorded 234 strikeouts and an MLB-best 2.25 ERA in 180 innings for the Padres.

Snell’s second Cy Young comes five years after he won it in the AL as a member of the Rays.

Here is the full list of pitchers who have won multiple Cy Young Awards.

Roger Clemens (7 Cy Young Awards)
Years won: AL 1986-87, 1991, '97-98, 2001; NL 2004

The Rocket is the Cy Young Award record-holder, with an incredible seven. Clemens won Cy Young Awards in both leagues, with four different teams: the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees and Astros. Here are just a few fun facts about Clemens' Cy Young collection:

  • When he won his first Cy Young Award in 1986 with the Red Sox, Clemens was also named the American League MVP, making him one of 11 pitchers to win both a Cy Young and MVP.
  • Clemens won back-to-back Cy Young Awards twice, from 1986-87 with Boston and 1997-98 with Toronto.
  • In both of his Cy Young seasons with the Blue Jays, Clemens won the Triple Crown, leading the AL in wins, ERA and strikeouts. He's one of four pitchers to win back-to-back Triple Crowns, along with Sandy Koufax, Lefty Grove and Grover Cleveland Alexander.
  • Clemens' last Cy Young came in 2004, at age 41, 18 years after his first. It was his first in the National League, making Clemens one of seven pitchers to win the Cy in both leagues, along with Blake Snell, Max Scherzer, Roy Halladay, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Gaylord Perry.

Randy Johnson (5)
Years won: AL 1995; NL 1999-2002

The Big Unit's five Cy Young Awards were highlighted by one of the most dominant runs in baseball history -- he won four straight NL Cy Young Awards with the D-backs, including during their World Series championship season in 2001. Johnson led MLB in strikeouts all four seasons … with over 300 K's in each of them and a career-high 372 in '01, the third-highest single-season total in the Modern Era behind Nolan Ryan's 383 in 1973 and Koufax's 382 in 1965. Johnson's first Cy Young Award came in the AL with the Mariners in 1995, when he went 18-2 with a league-leading 2.48 ERA and 294 strikeouts.

Greg Maddux (4)
Years won: NL 1992-95

Like Johnson, Maddux won four Cy Young Awards in a row, making them the only two pitchers in MLB history to do so. (Actually, they're the only pitchers to even win three straight, and the pitchers to win back-to-back Cy Young Awards is a short list, too.) The ace of the Braves dynasty of the '90s swept the NL award from 1992-95, leading Atlanta to a World Series title the last of those years. Maddux took the MLB ERA crown in each of his last three Cy Young seasons, including a 1.56 ERA in '94 and a 1.63 ERA in '95. Across those two seasons, a 53-start span, the Professor went 35-8 with a 1.60 ERA.

Steve Carlton (4)
Years won: NL 1972, '77, '80, '82

This Hall of Famer won all four of his Cy Young Awards in Philadelphia, and they were some remarkable seasons. Carlton led the NL in wins in each of his Cy Young years, led in strikeouts three times and led in ERA once. The first of those seasons was a Triple Crown: In 1972, Carlton's 27 wins, 1.97 ERA and 310 strikeouts were all a National League-best. And in 1980, he also led the Phillies to a World Series win, winning the clinching Game 6 to cap a 3-0, 2.30 ERA postseason. A great workhorse, Carlton led the NL in innings pitched in three of his four Cy Young seasons, including 346 1/3 innings in '72 and 304 innings in '80.

Justin Verlander (3)
Years won: AL 2011, '19, '22

Not only has Verlander won three Cy Young Awards, but he's also been the runner-up three times (2012, '16 and '18) and finished third in the voting once ('09). Despite being a perennial Cy Young contender for the majority of his career, Verlander's third honor still came as a bit of a surprise. After being limited to just six innings in 2020 and missing the entire '21 season due to Tommy John surgery, Verlander returned in '22 at the age of 39 -- and he was arguably better than ever. He went 18-4 with a career-best 1.75 ERA and 185 strikeouts over 175 innings in 28 starts to win his third Cy Young Award -- and his second in unanimous fashion. Verlander also received every first-place vote in 2011, when he went 24-5 WITH A 2.40 ERA. In 2019, Verlander (21-6, 2.58 ERA, 300 K's) narrowly edged out then-teammate Gerrit Cole (20-5, 2.50 ERA, 326 K's) for the honor.

Max Scherzer (3)
Years won: AL 2013; NL 2016-17

Scherzer has fast-tracked himself toward the Hall of Fame over the past decade. Since winning his first Cy Young Award with the Tigers in 2013, Scherzer has accumulated a host of achievements, including two no-hitters, two more Cy Youngs, a 20-strikeout game and a 300-strikeout season. He helped the 2019 Nationals and the 2023 Rangers win their first World Series championship. In between, he joined the 3,000-strikeout club in '21 and won his 200th game in '22.

Clayton Kershaw (3)
Years won: NL 2011, '13-14

One of the defining aces of this generation along with Scherzer, Kershaw is on his way to Cooperstown, too. The Dodgers icon has produced some of the greatest pitching seasons in recent baseball history, including his Cy Young-MVP combo in 2014, when he went 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA and 239 strikeouts, and his Triple Crown 2011, when he led the NL with 21 wins, a 2.28 ERA and 248 K's. Kershaw's three Cy Young seasons came during a run of four straight MLB ERA crowns from 2011-14, during which time he posted a 2.11 ERA over 126 starts. Like Scherzer, Kershaw has also thrown a no-hitter, posted a 300-strikeout season and led his club to a World Series win.

Pedro Martinez (3)
Years won: NL 1997; AL 1999-2000

Maybe the most dominant pitcher in baseball history at his peak, Pedro posted two of the greatest Cy Young seasons of all time when he won in back-to-back years for the Red Sox in 1999 and 2000. Pitching in the powerhouse AL East, in the heart of the strongest offensive era in MLB history, Martinez was untouchable. In '99, he won a Triple Crown, going 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA and 313 strikeouts. The next year, he was just as unhittable, going 18-6 with a league-leading 1.74 ERA and 284 K's. Those are the seasons fans remember best, although Pedro's first Cy Young year with the Expos was great, too -- he had a Major League-best 1.90 ERA that year and racked up 305 K's.

Jim Palmer (3)
Years won: AL 1973, '75-76

The great Orioles ace already had led Baltimore to two World Series championships by the time he won his first Cy Young Award in 1973, and after he won his three awards, he led the O's to another title in '83. Palmer's Cy Young Awards included back-to-back honors from 1975-76, making him the second AL pitcher to win two straight after Denny McLain. Palmer won the AL ERA title in his first two Cy Young seasons, and he led the league in wins in the last two. His best season was probably 1975, when he went 23-11 with an MLB-best 2.09 ERA over 323 innings and also led the Majors with 10 shutouts.

Tom Seaver (3)
Years won: NL 1969, '73, '75

Seaver earned the nickname The Franchise as he led the Mets from lovable losers to miraculous World Series champions in 1969, then helped them win another National League pennant in '73. He won the Cy Young Award in both of those seasons, then again in '75. Seaver led the league in wins in '69 and '75, led in ERA in '73 and led in strikeouts in '73 and '75. He was the first pitcher to win a league-specific Cy Young Award three times (the Cy Young was one MLB-wide award from 1956-66 and changed to its current AL/NL form in '67).

Sandy Koufax (3)
Years won: MLB 1963, '65-66

Koufax is the first three-time Cy Young Award winner. The Dodgers legend was named MLB's best pitcher in three of his final four seasons in the big leagues, which was one of the most memorable runs by any pitcher ever. Koufax won the pitching Triple Crown in all three of his Cy Young seasons -- and not just an NL Triple Crown, an MLB Triple Crown. Koufax led the Major Leagues in wins, ERA and strikeouts in 1963 (when he was also NL MVP), '65 and '66, with at least 25 wins and over 300 strikeouts in all three seasons and a combined ERA of 1.88. Koufax is one of three pitchers to win three Triple Crowns, along with fellow legends Walter Johnson and Grover Cleveland Alexander.

Pitchers with 2 Cy Young Awards

Blake Snell (AL 2018, NL 2023)
Jacob deGrom (NL 2018-19)
Corey Kluber (AL 2014, '17)
Roy Halladay (AL 2003, NL 2010)
Tim Lincecum (NL 2008-09)
Johan Santana (AL 2004, '06)
Tom Glavine (NL 1991, '98)
Bret Saberhagen (AL 1985, '89)
Gaylord Perry (AL 1972, NL 1978)
Bob Gibson (NL 1968, '70)
Denny McLain (AL 1968-69)