Los Angeles Dodgers southpaw ace Clayton Kershaw was awarded the 2011 Cy Young after his brilliant Triple Crown season. The 23-year old lefty led the National League in its three main categories for pitching dominance; wins (21), strikeouts (248) and ERA (2.28) en route to the 2010-11 Cy Young and Triple Crown for pitchers.
Kershaw just edged out the Phillies Roy Halladay for first place of the award. The runner-up Halladay had himself a splendid season regardless. The Dodgers ace also led the league in WHIP (0.977), was named an all-star and won a Gold Glove this season. Clayton received 27 of 32 first place votes, as part of the pitchers dream season.
Three Philadelphia Phillies’ pitchers finished in the top-5 for voting and four of the San Francisco Giants pitchers received votes for the award, including Tim Lincecum. In the end, the award was really only between Halladay and Kershaw.
“I always dreamed about playing in the big leagues. I never dreamed about doing anything special in the big leagues,” said Kershaw. “I don’t think any kid ever does. The people I’m now associated with, just by having this award, is something that I never thought would ever happen.”
It is the 10th time a Los Angeles Dodger has won the award, and just the eighth Dodger pitcher to ever win the award. Clayton Kershaw can be added an impressive list made up of; Sandy Koufax, Don Newcombe, Don Drysdale, Mike Marshall, Fernando Valezuela, Orel Hershiser and Eric Gagne. Obviously, the Sandy Koufax comparisons have been following Kershaw around his entire Dodger career. That is just part of the territory, however the Cy Young’s newest member doesn’t feel comfortable with the comparisons to the Los Angeles legend.
It was one of the most dominant seasons by a pitcher that I have ever witnessed. Alsongside Justin Verlander’s amazing run in the American League, Kershaw added new heights to the pitching position with his 2011 National League dominance. The Dodgers were so bad, making Kershaw’s 21-wins that much more impressive. Baseball’s popularity will certainly be on the rise after witnessing the two most dominant pitching performances by the two Cy Young winners in one season. Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw have the set the standard by which excellence is measured.
This is just the beginning of a long, talented career for Clayton Kershaw. At just 23-years old, the southpaw has plenty of room to grow and improve. I would really hate to be a batter in the National League West after years of mediocrity. The division is now touting the best young pitching in all of Major League Baseball and it will only get stronger over time. Kershaw however, has a left leg up on the competition.