A Cy Young distinction for the Royals

Thanks to Curt Nelson, director of the Royals Hall of Fame, for this Cy Young tidbit:

The Royals are the only club to have three of its own draft picks win the award while pitching for their original drafting organization. That’s Zack Greinke, David Cone and Bret Saberhagen.

Going through all the winners since the Young Award began in 1956, Nelson found that the Brooklyn-Los Angeles Dodgers had six winners who called Dem Bums their original Major League club. But the first three (Don Newcombe, Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax) came along before the draft was instituted in 1965 and Fernando Valenzuela, the 1979 winner, was purchased from the Mexican League. Actually the only Dodgers winner who was drafted was Orel Hershiser because Eric Gagne, the 2003 winner, was a non-drafted free agent.

Anyway, the A’s and Royals each had three winners they signed themselves but the A’s Catfish Hunter pre-dated the draft. So that leaves the Royals with three victorious draftees in Zack, Coney and Sabes. Of course, we must point out that Coney was traded away and then lured back by Mr. Kauffman, who sat down and wrote the pitcher a $1 million check at the Winter Meetings in 1992. Then, the spring after he won the Cy Young in the strike-shortened ’94 season, Coney was sent off to the Blue Jays.

Thanks, Curt, for the info. And if you folks haven’t yet visited the Royals Hall of Fame, it’s open even during the winter, usually from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays (not this coming Saturday, however). Or if you have a large group and want a special tour, call 816-504-4297.

— Dick Kaegel

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