Big Unit collects third consecutive NL Cy Young award

Diamondbacks' Johnson edges teammate Schilling in voting to earn honors for fourth time

Posted: Wednesday, November 14, 2001

NEW YORK -- Randy Johnson didn't have to share this award with Curt Schilling.

The Big Unit, co-MVP of the World Series with his Arizona Diamondbacks teammate, won his third straight National League Cy Young Award on Tuesday, receiving 30 of 32 first-place votes from a panel of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

''I know Curt's happy for me,'' Johnson said. ''I talked to him earlier today. He was calling me today to thank me for getting him to this next level where's he at. I thought that was the most flattering comment I've received to this point in my career.''

Johnson was 21-6 and led the major leagues with a 2.49 ERA and 372 strikeouts, the third most in a season behind Nolan Ryan's 383 in 1973 and Sandy Koufax's 382 in 1965.

Schilling was 22-6 with a 2.98 ERA and 293 strikeouts.

Johnson got two second-place votes and 156 points. Schilling followed with two firsts, 29 seconds and one third for 98 points.

''This should be about Randy winning it, not me losing it,'' Schilling told ESPN Radio. ''I feel from opening day to the finish, I was the most consistent pitcher in baseball. ... Was that good enough to win the Cy Young? Not this year.''

It was the fourth Cy Young Award for Johnson, who won the AL honor while pitching for Seattle in 1995.

The only other pitchers with four or more Cy Youngs are Roger Clemens, a favorite to win his sixth on Thursday when the AL voting is announced, and Steve Carlton and Greg Maddux, who won four each.

''This has been a dream season,'' Johnson said, ''not because of the Cy Young Award but because another dream was fulfilled.''

Arizona beat the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the World Series on Nov. 4, and Johnson has had little time to reflect.

''It's all been pretty surreal,'' he said. ''Me and my wife had a vacation planned. We put it off a few days so we could take part in the ticker-tape parade.''

The only voters who chose Schilling over Johnson were Toni Ginnetti of the Chicago Sun-Times and Joe Christensen of The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif.

Johnson, a left-hander, led the majors in strikeouts for the eighth time.

He struck out 10 or more 23 times for the third straight season, matching the record Ryan set with the California Angels in 1973.

''The one thing that keeps me going is I'm never content with anything,'' Johnson said. ''If I was to retire today, I'd like to think this was my best year. But I'd like to think with hard work and determination I could get better in certain categories.''

Like Ryan, Johnson is getting better with age.

''I'm 38 years old but age is just a number,'' he said. ''The biggest thing I have going for me is I'm not content with the years I've had.''

This was just the third time teammates finished first and second in the voting, following Don Newcombe and Sal Maglie of the 1956 Brooklyn Dodgers, and Mike Marshall and Andy Messersmith of the 1974 Los Angeles Dodgers.

Votes were cast before the start of the postseason, when Johnson became the first pitcher to win three games in a World Series since Detroit's Mickey Lolich in 1968.

Matt Morris of the St. Louis Cardinals was third with 31 points, followed by Jon Lieber of the Chicago Cubs with two, and Houston Astros rookie Roy Oswalt with one.

Johnson gets a $250,000 bonus for winning, Schilling $150,000 for finishing second, and Morris $25,000 for finishing third.

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