The Team That Forever Changed Baseball and America: The 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers

By Lyle Spatz; Maurice Bouchard et al. | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Chapter 79. Cy Young Award

Lyle Spatz

Official recognition of baseball’s best pitcher did not begin until 1956, when Brooklyn’s Don Newcombe won the first Cy Young Award. Starting in 1967, two awards were given, one to the best pitcher in each league. While there was no official vote in 1947, two retrospective attempts have been made to determine the likely pre-1956 Cy Young winners for each league. The two, one by the Society for American Baseball Research and one by awards historian Bill Deane, agree that the 1947 winner in the National League clearly would have been Cincinnati’s Ewell Blackwell.

Blackwell led the league in wins (22), complete games (23), and strikeouts (193), while finishing second in earned run average (2.47) and hits allowed per nine innings (7.48). He threw a no-hitter against the Boston Braves and just missed another in his next start, which Brooklyn’s Eddie Stanky broke up with a ninth-inning single. Blackwell, who finished second to Bob Elliott in the voting for Most Valuable Player, was also the National League’s starting pitcher in the All-Star Game.

Because there was no separate award for them, pitchers were always well represented in the MVP voting, especially in the World War II era. The National League winner in 1942 had been Mort Cooper of the Cardinals, while American League pitchers had captured three consecutive MVP awards in the era: Spud Chandler of the New York Yankees in 1943, and Hal Newhouser of the Detroit Tigers in both 1944 and 1945.

In the majority of cases, the pitcher with the highest MVP vote total was the winner of the Retroactive Cy Young Award. Therefore, it’s not too large a leap of faith to assume that the order in which pitchers finished in the MVP voting in 1947 would have been the same had there been a Cy Young vote. Giants rookie Larry Jansen (21–5) would have finished second, with two Brooklyn right-handers—Ralph Branca and Hugh Casey— taking the next two slots.

The twenty-one-year-old Branca was the ace of the staff for the pennant-winning Dodgers. In addition to winning twenty-one games, he finished second in the league in strikeouts and innings pitched and third in earned run average. Casey (10–4) finished thirty-seven games for the Dodgers and led the NL with a retroactively determined eighteen saves. Philadelphia’s Dutch Leonard would have finished fifth, with Boston’s Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain gaining the final two spots.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Team That Forever Changed Baseball and America: The 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 380

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?