Of R.A. Dickey, Cy Young Awards and John Elway

Ready for this?

Since 1972, the Rangers have had 81 pitchers throw at least career 200 innings for them. Of those 81 pitchers, R.A. Dickey has the second highest ERA. He had a 5.72 ERA in five years with the Rangers. The only one with a higher ERA and at least 200 innings was Chan Ho Park at 5.79.

Now R.A. Dickey is the National League Cy Young Award winner.

It’s a mind-boggling thing and the Rangers have still never had a Cy Young winner in their franchise history.

Now that the Rays have finally won one, the Rangers are the only American League team never to have won a Cy Young Award.

They have drafted two Cy Young Award winners. They did once draft Barry Zito. They just failed to sign him after taking him in the third round back in 1998. Dickey, who was the Rangers No. 1 pick in 1996, did actually play for the Rangers.

He is also only the second pitcher to win a Cy Young Award after leaving the Rangers. The other was Gaylord Perry with the Padres in 1978.

Six pitchers did win the Cy Young Award before joining the Rangers: Ferguson Jenkins, Mike Marshall, Sparky Lyle, Eric Gagne, Cliff Lee and – technically – Brandon Webb. Also Perry. He won with the Indians in 1971. Also Perry again. He returned to the Rangers in 1980

The Rangers acquired Perry from the Indians on June 13, 1975 for pitchers Jim Bibby, Rick Waits, Jackie Brown and $100,000. They traded him to the Padres on Jan. 25, 1978 for pitcher Dave Tomlin and $125,000. At least the Rangers made a $25,000 profit.

Actually their profit was more than that. They sold Tomlin to the Reds at the end of Spring Training that year.

Perry went 21-6 for the Padres. Ferguson Jenkins won 18 for the Rangers and Jon Matlack won 15. No other starter had more than nine wins. The Rangers finished five games behind the Royals.

Jenkins remains the one Rangers pitcher who came close to winning the Cy Young, finishing second  behind Jim Hunter in 1974.

Too bad they took Jonathan Johnson with the seventh overall pick in the 1995 Draft instead of Roy Halladay, who went to the Blue Jays with the 17th overall pick.

But then Cliff Lee was a fourth round pick by the Expos in 2000. He was a left-handed pitcher out of the University of Arkansas. The Rangers used their third round pick to take left-handed pitcher Chris Russ out of Towson University.

Here is a good one: the Rangers signed Burt Hooten as a free agent in 1985 and had to forfeit their second-round pick to the Dodgers. They took a second baseman that never made it to the Majors. Five picks later the Expos took Randy Johnson.

Another one. The Rangers did have their second round pick in 1984 and drafted Jimmy Meadows from Walters (Tenn.) State Community College. Never heard of him? How about Tom Glavine? Yep, the Braves took him seven picks later in the second round.

The Rangers also took an outfielder by the name of Chuckie Canaday in the second round (30th overall) of the 1981 Draft out of North Carolina State. They did so with a draft pick that was compensation from the Mets for signing free agent Rusty Staub.

The Rangers lost their own draft pick because they had signed Bill Stein as a free agent. The Mariners had the pick – 35th overall – and took Mark Langston out of San Jose State. Several years later they traded him to the Mariners for Randy Johnson.

Two picks later after Langston, the Twins took 1988 Cy Young winner Frank Viola. Chuckie Canaday never got past Oklahoma City unless you count his 1986 stint with the Mexico City Reds.

Hey if the Rangers wanted to, they could have taken a Hall of Famer in the second round. Like Chuckie, he too was an outfielder in college. But the Rangers wanted Canaday and the Yankees were the ones who took John Elway.

But  the second round has never been good to the Rangers. In 1976 they took a right-handed pitcher Steve Finch from a California high school. On the very next pick, the Mets took a college pitcher from Pepperdine out in California. Mike Scott also won a Cy Young Award.

Wonder if the same scouts watched both pitchers.

Of course Scott won his Cy Young with the Astros only after being traded for first baseman Danny Heep.

Dickey and Zito were both drafted by the Rangers when Doug Melvin was General Manager. So too were Ryan Dempster, C.J. Wilson and Aaron Harang. A team could have won a division title this season with those five in their rotation. Colby Lewis too if he had stayed healthy.

R.A. Dickey was the one who won the Cy Young Award. It is a mind-boggling thing.

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