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Pitchers Who Have Won the Cy Young in Both Leagues

Winning the Cy Young Award is a huge achievement as a pitcher. But an even bigger accomplishment is winning the award in both leagues. Winning the Cy Young in both the American and National League is a grand victory, which makes sense as to why some pitchers want to pitch in both leagues to get the chance to accomplish that feat. Of course, this isn’t an easy task, but these pitchers have largely made it look easy.

Cy Young Award Winners in Both Leagues

Max Scherzer

Max Scherzer has won the Cy Young Award three times, finishing in the top 3 six times. He first won in 2013 in the American League with the Detroit Tigers. Scherzer’s stellar season earned him the 2013 Award, receiving 28 of 30 first-place votes. He also was the winner of the Players Choice Award for AL Outstanding Pitcher, and the Baseball Digest Pitcher of the Year—bestowed annually to one pitcher in the major leagues.

The second time he won was in 2016 in the National League with the Washington Nationals. Scherzer was named the National League Cy Young Award winner on November 16, 2016, winning on the high of a 20–7 record, 2.96 ERA, 284 strikeouts, and a 0.968 WHIP. The latter two were MLB-leading stats for Scherzer. He then won the Cy Young once again in 2017 with the Nationals for a back-to-back run. Scherzer is still going at 39 for the Texas Rangers.

Roy Halladay

Roy Halladay was sent down to the minors after having a disappointing season in 2000. In the minors, he took the time to focus and improve his delivery and pitching. In 2002, Halladay transformed into an elite starting pitcher, earning his first All-Star selection. A year later, he earned the AL Cy Young Award and ranked first in recording complete games as a pitcher. Halladay achieved the league lead in complete games five times over his last seven seasons in Toronto.

Before the 2010 season, Halladay was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. That year, he pitched both the 20th perfect game in MLB history and the second postseason no-hitter. He also led the majors in shutouts and won the NL Cy Young Award, capping his win in both leagues. Following the 2013 season, Halladay retired as the active leader in complete games with 67. Sadly in 2017, Halladay passed away when his ICON A5 plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. Halladay’s hard work and impressive stats got him inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The announcement of his election occurred on January 22nd, 2019.

Roger Clemens

Roger Clemens won the Cy Young seven times, which is the most for any pitcher. The last time he won the award was in 2004. Clemens won Cy Young Awards in both leagues, with four different teams: the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, and Houston Astros.

In 1986, he won the AL Cy Young Award, the AL MVP Award, and the All-Star Game MVP Award with Boston. Clemens also impressively struck out 20 batters in a game, which set an MLB record that would later be tied, including by himself in 1996. Clemens then left Boston as a free agent and joined the Toronto Blue Jays. In both seasons with the Blue Jays, he won a Cy Young Award as well as the pitching Triple Crown (leading the league in wins, ERA, and strikeouts). Prior to the 1999 season, Clemens was traded to the New York Yankees, where he won two World Series titles.

In 2001, Clemens became the very first pitcher to start a season with a 20–1 record. No other pitcher has achieved this in major league history. Two years later in 2003, he earned his 300th win and 4,000th strikeout in the same game. In 2004, Clemens went to the Houston Astros. He spent three seasons in Houston and won his seventh Cy Young Award in 2004. Clemens remains a unique and top-of-the-line pitcher because he is the only pitcher to record more than 350 wins and strike out more than 4,500 batters in Major League history.

Pedro Martinez

Pedro Martinez was in his prime from 1997 to 2003. An eight-time All-Star, he represented himself as one of the most dynamic and commanding pitchers in baseball. Martinez received three Cy Young Awards in 1997 (with the Montreal Expos), 1999, and 2000 (both with the Boston Red Sox). From 1997 to 2003, he was 118–36 with a 2.20 ERA, while leading the league in ERA five times.

He showcased excellent performances in both 1999 and 2000. While his performance declined starting in 2004, Martínez finished that season by helping the Red Sox to win their first World Series title in 86 years.

Gaylord Perry

Gaylord Perry was a five-time All-Star. He was the first pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues. He received the AL Cy Young in 1972, ranking first in the league with 24 wins and a 1.92 ERA for the Cleveland Indians. Perry then won the NL Cy Young in 1978 with the San Diego Padres, ranking first in the league with 21 wins. At the age of 40, he was the oldest pitcher at the time to win the award (later surpassed by Roger Clemens). Gaylord Perry and his brother Jim Perry were teammates for the Indians in 1974–1975. Both became the first brothers in MLB to successfully win 200 games. Gaylord Perry passed away on December 1st, 2022 at the age of 84.

Randy Johnson

Randy Johnson was a ten-time All-Star who won the Cy Young Award five times. He won the award in four consecutive seasons from 1999 to 2002. Johnson also won the Cy Young Awards in both leagues, in the AL with the Seattle Mariners and the NL (four times) with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He is also one of five pitchers to pitch no-hitters in both the AL and NL.

Johnson was able to pitch until the age of 46, a rare feat for both pitchers and major leaguers in general. He had a dynamic fastball-slider duo that he used effectively for years. This was especially prominent when Johnson was in his 40s. Also, four of his six 300-strikeout seasons occurred after he turned 35. At the age of 40, he threw the 17th perfect game in MLB history. Johnson’s baseball career ended with his retirement after the 2009 season. He earned induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015. He will always be recognized as a player who was successful at an older age. Randy Johnson is currently 60 years old.

Blake Snell 

Blake Snell won the AL Cy Young Award in 2018 with the Tampa Bay Rays. This was a big year for him, as he was an All-Star and led the league in both wins and ERA. The Rays then traded Snell to the San Diego Padres before the 2021 season. Snell went on to win his second Cy Young Award in 2023 after leading the majors in ERA for the Padres, becoming the seventh pitcher to earn the award in both leagues. Snell is currently 31 years old.


Photo Credit: © Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports


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