Randy Johnson was the unanimous choice for the NL Cy Young award today, his fourth straight award and his fifth in total. His teammate Curt Schilling finished second for the second straight year.
First, I must say that I advocated the selection of Schilling in August (I believe), but given the strong finish by Johnson and the weak finish by Schilling, the writers made the right choice. I am surprised that it was unanimous, however. I am also nonplussed as to why anyone would vote for either Greg Gagne or John Smoltz for second, as 3 electors did, instead of Schilling. They should turn in the darts that they used to pick their choices and be banished from the voting until they stop believing their own articles.
A few other things occurred to me after I heard about the vote, to wit: a) How many times has a pitcher been the best in his league for four straight years? And b) How many times has a pitcher been second best for two straight years?
For the first question, you have to first define what you mean by "best". Is it wins? ERA? Cy Young voting? Most intentional walks to Barry Bonds. Well, I like Win Shares, so that's what I used. I found only four other instances of a pitcher being the best in his league for four straight years:
Walter Johnson, 1912-16 (and 1918) (5 straight years)
Lefty Grove, 1928-32 (5 straight years)
Hal Hewhouser, 1945-48
Robin Roberts, 1952-55 (and 1950)
There have been three recently that have come close: