Today in History

Today in History: August 6

Cy Young

"Cy" Young, Cleveland's veteran pitcher, has had a long and successful career. Among his greatest individual feats are a game of May 5, 1904, when not one of the hard-hitting Athletics reached first base, and another June 30, 1908, against the Highlanders, when only one man got "on" in nine innings. Prior to 1910 he failed only three times in his many years pitching to turn in a majority of victories. In 1910 he won his 500th game, an unsurpassed record. August 12, 1908, "Cy" Young Day was celebrated in Boston. He was presented with the entire receipts of the game, and more silverware and floral designs than he could carry.

Baseball biography of Denton T. Young,
printed on the back of his 1911 Sweet Caporal Cigarettes card.
Baseball Cards, 1887-1914

Cy Young, baseball card
Cy Young, 1911.
Baseball Cards, 1887-1914

On August 6, 1890, baseball great Cy Young pitched his first professional game, leading the Cleveland Spiders past the Chicago Colts. Over the course of his 22-year career, Young won at least 508 games (511 is the generally accepted number) and averaged more than 23 victories per season. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937.

Born Denton True Young in Gilmore, Ohio, on March 29, 1867, Young earned his nickname when he tore off several fence boards with his pitches, leading a bystander to observe that the fence looked like it had been hit by a cyclone. He played for the Cleveland Spiders from 1890 until 1898, spent the next two years with St. Louis, and then signed with the Boston Americans (renamed the Red Sox in 1908) in the American League. Young's final season was 1911, which he split between the Cleveland Naps and the National League's Boston Rustlers. The Cy Young Award, instituted in 1956, is given annually to the best pitcher in each professional league.

League Park, Cleveland, Ohio
League Park,
Cleveland, Ohio,
between 1900 and 1910.
Touring Turn-of-the-Century America: Photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company, 1880-1920

Group of Cleveland Base Ball Players
Group of Cleveland Base Ball Players,
Taking the Long View: Panoramic Photographs, 1851-1991

Learn more about the history of baseball in the United States and the Caribbean in American Memory:

Let others hunt, or fish, or sail
Afar o'er ocean's foam;
Give me the game that's played among
The sweet green fields of home.

Bases pitch on a level spot,
Beneath a smiling sky,
No sport for pleasure or for health,
With Base Ball then can vie…

"The Base Ball Song",
lyric and melody by W. J. Bullock,
Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, 1820-1860 & 1870-1885