Seattle's Felix Hernandez was named the winner of the 2010 AL Cy Young Award today, despite a W-L mark of just 13-12.
If you're still among those who believe a starting pitcher's calling card is his won-lost record, welcome to the real world. In baseball, but particularly in the American League, a starting pitcher has almost no impact on the number of runs his team scores for him. Obviously, he doesn't bat in the junior circuit, so his impact on his team's offense there is nil.
King Felix's peripheral numbers - a league-leading 2.27 ERA, 232 K's among the highlights - for a team that scored fewer runs per game than any team since the DH was aded to the AL in 1973, put him over the hump, but it wasn't close. He got 21 of a possible 28 first place votes, and beat out Tampa Bay's David Price by 57 overall points. C.C. Sabathia finished third, despite a league-leading 21 victories.
So, while logic seemed to rule the day in the AL Cy Young voting, Commissioner Bud Selig recently displayed a total lack of same when he announced his support for Abner Doubleday as the inventor of baseball.
As the story goes - and it's just that, a story - a 20-year-old Doubleday laid out the first baseball diamond in Cooperstown, NY one day in 1839. There's zero credible evidence to support it, not to mention the fact that there's a ton of evidence to show the game was being played on an organized basis in this country years earlier.
Doubleday himself, a noted Union General during the Civil War and a career Army officer, never claimed such status, and, despite being an inveterate journal keeper, never wrote a single word about it during his lifetime. The fact that Abner was a student at West Point during the time he was supposedly inventing baseball doesn't help either.
I made my first visit to Cooperstown with my family in the ealy 1960's, and at that time there was a pretty prominent dispaly on Doubleday. Today, there's a tiny photograph of Abner with a caption that repeats the legend, but doesn't claim it as fact.
Selig's endorsement of the Doubleday myth makes him seem like he's much closer to retiring than even he knows. Not a single credible baseball historian endorses Doubelday as the game's patriarch, and you shouldn't expect that to change anytime soon.
So, congratulations to Felix Hernandez, and Bud, don't wait up for the tooth fairy.