1893—1895: Success at Sixty and Six
WHEN CY YOUNG arrived in Cleveland in mid-March 1893 to begin earning his handsome $2,300 salary, he won praise from Patsy Tebeau as one of only two Spiders — the other was Chief Zimmer — who “were in prime condition.” 1 Self-respect, hard work, and good habits explain Young's fitness, but in 1893 being ready to play was more important than ever to the twenty-six-year-old, for he returned that spring in a different role. I'm not referring here to the redefined role of pitchers in general, even though we know that the new pitching rules weighed on Young's mind. (When asked if the longer distance might lead him to quit pitching, he had cautiously replied that he'd “try and stand it, if the rest [of the pitchers] did.” I suspect that he began smiling at that point in the interview, however, for he added by way of explanation — and remember: he's almost the biggest man in baseball — “I've got a little strength left yet.”) 2 Rather, the new role I'm alluding to involved his growing fame in the baseball world. No longer merely a pitcher of promise, Young was now an authentic baseball celebrity. In pronouncing his 1892 performance the finest of any major league pitcher in five seasons — the writer was probably thinking of his winning percentage of .750 — the Sporting News had drawn the attention of baseball fans across the country to his extraordinary prowess. 3 Consequently, the 1893 season marks the first point in Young's career when he was forced to deal with the pressures of fame.
The Cleveland team to which he reported was now solely the property of Frank Robison, for during the off-season the majority owner had bought out the minority shares of Davis Hawley and George Howe. 4 Robison soon acquired a reputation as a baseball leader; he supported his