The Most Cursed Cy Young Class Ever?

Congratulations to Roy Halladay. As I was looking through his history, I noticed that, when he won his previous Cy Young in 2003, the runner-up - with two first-place votes - was Esteban Loaiza. Granted, Loaiza was very very good that season in kind of the pitcher's version of Adrian Beltre's 2004, but it's still one of those things you forget ever happened, like Bill Mueller's 2003, or Dan Miceli's entire career.

However, what then caught my eye were the NL Cy Young voting results from the same season.

Rank Tm Vote Pts 1st Place W L W-L% ERA SV IP H R ER HR BB SO HBP
1 Eric Gagne LAD 146.0 28.0 2 3 .400 1.20 55 82.1 37 12 11 2 20 137 3
2 Jason Schmidt SFG 73.0 2.0 17 5 .773 2.34 0 207.2 152 56 54 14 46 208 5
3 Mark Prior CHC 60.0 2.0 18 6 .750 2.43 0 211.1 183 67 57 15 50 245 9
4 Russ Ortiz ATL 9.0 0.0 21 7 .750 3.81 0 212.1 177 101 90 17 102 149 4
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 11/16/2010.

Gagne, one remembers, was a very deserving winner, as he posted one of the greatest relief seasons in history. Schmidt and Prior were also absolutely excellent, and Ortiz was okay, getting votes strictly because of his league-leading win total.

But then look what happened. Gagne would have another strong season. Ortiz would have one. Schmidt would have a couple. Prior would have a couple. And that's it. In their age 31+ seasons, these four pitches have combined to throw 1071.2 innings, with a 5.02 RA. And those innings mostly belong to Schmidt.

Gagne - now 34 - hasn't pitched since 2008. Schmidt - now 37 - hasn't pitched since August 2009. Prior - now 30 - hasn't pitched since 2006. And Ortiz - now 36 - showed up for all of seven 2010 innings in relief.

Gagne's battled elbow injuries. Schmidt's battled shoulder injuries. Prior's battled shoulder injuries. And Ortiz has battled Tommy John recovery and a dwindling amount of talent after being ridden hard early in his career.

You always expect that some number of talented pitchers will go on to struggle with injuries and ineffectiveness a few years later in their careers. But looking back, the 2003 NL Cy Young results are just depressing.

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