The 2011 National League Cy Young Award seemed like it would be a close battle, but Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers breezed to an easy victory, garnering 27 of 32 first-place votes. Kershaw easily outpaced Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies, who received four first-place votes and 21 second-place votes. For Kershaw, it was a tremendous honor.
"The people I’m associated with just by winning this award is something I never dreamed of," Kershaw said on Thursday. "I never thought in a million years I’d even be in consideration for this award."
Kershaw won the pitching triple crown in the National League, leading the league in wins (21, tied with Ian Kennedy of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who finished fourth), ERA (2.28), and strikeouts (248). Cliff Lee of the Phillies finished third. ""Whenever you get to lead in those three categories, it doesn’t get to happen too often…but those three guys were really deserving, too," Kershaw added.
The 23-year old Kershaw is the first Dodgers starting pitcher to win the award since Orel Hershiser in 1988. "I am first and foremost a big fan of Clayton and have been honored to watch his quest in moving from good to great," Hershiser said on Tuesday. "He’s just scratching the surface of what he can become and I know he can reach much higher limits. Congratulations Clayton, it’s an amazing honor."
Don Newcombe, who won the very first Cy Young Award in 1956, put Kershaw in select company. "I am reminded of Sandy Koufax whenever I see Clayton pitch and feel that there is a deep comparison between the two," said Newcombe. "Clayton has an outstanding work ethic, as did Sandy, which will show itself through Clayton’s baseball career."
For Kershaw, individual awards are great, but he'd like to improve on the 82-79 record the Dodgers had this season, telling reporters on Thursday, "Individual awards never supersede winning, so that’s the ultimate goal.”
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