1911: Cy Young Closes Career on a Sigh

Cy Young was release by Cleveland on 8/15/1911. - Had he come too fat to field his position? (Photo by Photo File/Getty Images)

Cy Young was released by Cleveland on 8/15/1911. – Had he come too fat to field his position?
(Photo by Photo File/Getty Images)

It wasn’t pretty. It came late. It was about gate attraction. Not talent. Not pennant possibility. And it happened to 44-year old Cy Young in Brooklyn on October 6, 1911 as the ignominious last time he would pitch for anybody in the big leagues after at the end of a 22-year MLB career that began in 1890. With his first step in the 19th century era and his last miss-step in the 20th century modern era, it all unraveled for the biggest winner in baseball history that fated moment on a Bugs Bunny-like cartoon conga line of nine hitters. All Cy Young would have to show for his worst day ever was a string of nine straight surrendered hits and his 316th and final career loss.

Pitching in Brooklyn for the Boston Rustlers of the National League after being released by Cleveland of the American League on August 15, 1911 for being “too fat to field his position,” Cy had managed to go 4-4 in the 10 mound trips prior to his 11th start and 5th loss for the “Rustlers”, but this last one was an embarrassing pip, as they used to say.  It “was a sad ending for the great all-time hurler. Cy was clobbered in this game. He was left in until the Dodgers had scored 11 runs, seven crossing the plate in the seventh inning.”


The “last eight batters of Young’s career combined to hit a triple, four singles, and three doubles.”

Unsurprisingly, the biggest winner in MLB history did not immediately interpret his 44 years of age, his final 1911 performance in Brooklyn, or the cruel whispers about his weight earlier at Cleveland as the final verdict on his career. At least, he made no public comment to that effect. He even went to spring training with the 1912 Boston Nationals, riding the bench for quite a while before coming finally to the conclusion that he was done. In words that were remindful of Bill Veeck’s half century later explanation to pitcher Ned Garver why he could not have a raise, Young apparently pretty much figured out on his own that the Rustlers were bad enough to find the cellar without his current ability to help. And so he retired without a return to the the big league mound.

Baseball people would hardly remember how he actually went out. They would be too pre-occupied with the fact that Cy Young’s 511 career wins would live to outshine every other pitcher’s win totals, before or since  – and probably for all time.



Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas



4 Responses to “1911: Cy Young Closes Career on a Sigh”

  1. Tom Hunter Says:

    If you are in Boston, go to the campus of Northeastern University, where the Huntington Avenue Grounds once stood. It was the site of the first World Series in 1903. On the spot where the pitcher’s mound used to be is a statue of Cy Young, who threw the first perfect game of the modern era there on May 5, 1904.

  2. Leonard Levin Says:

    If I remember correctly, the statue shows him pitching.

  3. Dennis Corcoran Says:

    I always enjoy hearing stories about Hall of Famers that I never heard before. I also liked hearing about the statue of Cy Young at Northeastern University from your reader Tom Hunter that I never knew.

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