Cy winners connected in 3 notable ways

November 12th, 2020

The Indians' and the Reds' each won Cy Young Awards in 2020 for the first time in their careers.

Bieber won the Major League Triple Crown, holding a share of the lead in wins, ERA and strikeouts. Bauer had a 1.73 ERA, second-lowest in the Majors behind only Bieber, and held opponents to a .159 batting average.

There's plenty in common between the two pitchers beyond standout 2020 seasons. They were teammates on the Indians in 2018 and 2019, before Bauer was traded to the Reds at the Trade Deadline. That means the teams they were on this year are both in the state of Ohio. And they’re also both from California, and each attended a college in the UC system -- Bauer went to UCLA and Bieber went to UC Santa Barbara.

Here’s a look at some of the lists they now join, with each winning the Cy Young Award in his respective league.

Former teammates

The Cy Young Award was first given out in 1956, but at the time, there was one MLB-wide award given per year. That changed in 1967, when it split into separate awards for each league. Since then, there have only been three seasons in which the Cy Young winners were teammates in a previous season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

In 2016, Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello won in the AL, while the Nationals’ Max Scherzer won in the NL. The two had been teammates on the Tigers from 2010-14. Scherzer won his first career Cy Young Award during that time, in 2013.

In 1992, the Cubs’ Greg Maddux won in the NL and A’s pitcher Dennis Eckersley won in the AL. They had been teammates on the 1986 Cubs, but just barely. That was the first season of Maddux’s career -- he debuted on Sept. 2 and pitched in six games. The next year, Eckersley was traded to the A’s in April, so the two were teammates for all of a month, in September 1986.

Bauer and Bieber are the third set of former teammates to do so. But they are the first to have been teammates in the season immediately prior to winning, having both been part of the ‘19 Indians.

Teams in the same state

Not only are they former teammates, but the team that Bauer was traded to from the Indians, the Reds, is also in Ohio. It’s again important to note here that there have been two Cy Young Awards since 1967, and also that there are currently six states with at least one team per league: California, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, New York and Ohio.

There has been just one other year in which both Cy Young Award winners were from teams in the same state: 1974, when Catfish Hunter won for the A’s and Mike Marshall for the Dodgers. Entering 2020, a New York sweep of the Mets’ Jacob deGrom and Yankees’ Gerrit Cole was a popular pick, which would’ve been the first Cy Young duo from the same city. But instead the same-state concept got its time instead.

Born in the same state

As if there weren’t enough connections between Bauer and Bieber already, they’re also both Californians, with Bauer born in North Hollywood and Bieber in Orange. There have been just four other instances of Cy Young winners in a particular year who were both born in the same state.

The four prior instances involve four different states, and one is California. With Bauer and Bieber winning, that state is now on the list twice.

In 2012, Tennessee-born pitchers R.A. Dickey and David Price each won. In 1996, it was Michigan-born Pat Hentgen and John Smoltz. The 1988 Cy Young Award winners were New York-born Frank Viola and Orel Hershiser. And in 1967, the first year with two awards, Californian-born Jim Lonborg and Mike McCormick took the honors.