The Sporting News today named Toronto’s Dave Stieb as the American League Pitcher of the Year, damaging the Cy Young hopes of Brewers pitcher Pete Vuckovich.
On Oct. 7, I broke down the competition and determined that Stieb is my Cy Young winner. I hoped at the time that I was trying too hard to be unbiased, that I overcompensated by choosing Stieb over Vuckovich. After today’s announcement from The Sporting News, the numbers may just stack up in Stieb’s favor after all.
Dave Stieb had a wonderful season for the Blue Jays. He led the American League in complete games (19), shutouts (5), and innings pitched (288 1/3), while ranking near the top in wins (fifth with 17), ERA (fifth at 3.25) and strikeouts (seventh with 141).
Pete Vuckovich had a wonderful season as well, but I group him with several other pitchers (Baltimore’s Jim Palmer, Kansas City’s Dan Quisenberry, Cleveland’s Rick Sutcliffe and Seattle’s Bill Caudill) as being a tick behind Stieb. Vuke has the advantage of having pitched in a pennant race, though he didn’t lock down a final series victory over the Orioles that nearly cost the Brewers their season.
Then again, Vuke also faltered in the postseason, but this is a regular season award. As such, I may hold Vuke in too negative a light.
Stieb, 24, pitched his fourth season in the majors with the Blue Jays, and he set career highs in wins, games started, complete games, shutouts, innings pitched and strikeouts. Already a two time All-Star, Stieb was not selected to the 1982 All-Star Game.
Unfortunately for Stieb, his Toronto Blue Jays went 78-84 this season and finished in sixth place in the AL East. Then again, that makes the accomplishment of winning 17 games for a losing team all the more impressive.
What do you think? Did Stieb deserve the award, or was Vuke robbed?