R.A. Dickey gets the start Monday night against the Phillies at Citi Field in his ongoing effort to win the Cy Young Award. Dickey has a very good shot at winning the pitching Triple Crown, which would seal the award for him. However, Dickey has a chance to make even more history.
The pitching Triple Crown (wins, ERA and strikeouts) is an impressive feat, but it is not particularly uncommon. It’s been achieved 32 times since 1900, including both Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw last season. But if you add complete games and shutouts to the mix, then you’ve really got something.
Exclusive research by the Blogging Mets staff (which means I looked at Baseball Reference) has found that there have been only ten instances since 1900 in which a pitcher has led their league in those five categories. And since 1945, it has only happened twice — Sandy Koufax in 1966 and Roger Clemens in 1997.
The rest of the list contains some very impressive names: Hal Newhouser, Bob Feller, Lefty Gomez, Lefty Grove, Walter Johnson, Grover Cleveland Alexander (twice) and Christy Mathewson.
Dickey has an excellent chance to join those Hall of Famers. If he wins Monday he would tie Gio Gonzalez with 19 wins (Gonzalez lost Sunday night). Dickey leads in ERA and is second in strikeouts. Kershaw leads in strikeouts and is second in ERA, but it looks like he could miss the rest of the season with a hip problem, so Dickey would surely overtake him in strikeouts and if he pitches well, hang onto his ERA lead.
Dickey’s five complete games are two more than his nearest competitor, and he has three shutouts; six other pitchers have two. Dickey could end up tied in these categories, but it is highly unlikely anyone could overtake him at this point in the season.
A strong finish could result in a monumental season for R.A. Dickey — a memorable event in what has turned into yet another forgettable season for the Mets.