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.
“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.
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.
- Examine additional memorabilia through the Library’s Baseball Cards collection, which includes 2,100 early baseball cards dating from 1887 to 1914. See the special presentation “Tinkers to Evers to Chance!” — a tribute to three of Young’s baseball contemporaries.
- Find more pictures and stories of the game. See the special presentation Early Baseball Pictures, 1860s to 1920s in the collection By Popular Demand: Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s.
- Search across the collections on baseball, or search Today in History on baseball, to learn about legendary baseball players such as Jackie Robinson, Connie Mack, and Satchel Paige.
- Search Chronicling America, a database of historic newspapers from 1789-1924, on the phrase Cy Young to find articles about and images of Young, as well as recaps and box scores for games in which he pitched.
- Review Baseball Resources at the Library of Congress, a comprehensive online guide to baseball-related materials available on the Library’s website and in its physical collections.