Astros History: Turk Farrell and Pitching For Expansion Teams

You have likely heard of Turk Farrell before. He was an All-Star in Houston's first season in the major leagues, won 10 games in his first season in Houston, 14 the next and only failed to top double-digit wins once in his six years in Houston. Clack profiled him as one of the unluckiest pitchers in team history, so I'm not going to attempt that here.

The reston we bring it up is Farrell had exactly 117 decisions with the Astros, and this is now the 117th game of the season. These late-season games are getting tough to find interesting storylines, and Farrell's isn't necessarily uninteresting. It's just pretty well-known.

So, instead, I'm going to make an argument that Farrell should have gotten Cy Young votes in 1962. The reason I bring it up is that Dan LeBatard said on PTI last week that Lucas Harrell should get Cy Young consideration for winning on such a bad team. Now, Harrell hasn't been Steve Carlton, and neither was Farrell, but it's not exactly easy to win and pitch well on bad teams.

In '62, the Cy Young award had been around for about six years. It was first awarded in 1956, when Don Newcombe won a major league award. The award wasn't split into different leagues until 1967. Plus, back then, things like wins were considered more important for things like the Cy Young. You'd never see a guy with just 10 wins taking serious consideration.

And, let's get something straight. I'm not arguing that Farrell should have won over Don Drysdale, who was a brilliant 25-9 with a 2.83 ERA and 232 strikeouts. Plus, Drysdale had a save. Can you imagine that happening today?

No, I'm saying you could make the case that Farrell deserved more votes than the third-place finisher, Billy Pierce. Teammate Jack Sanford finished second for the San Francisco Giants, but Pierce was more of a reliever. He only pitched 160+ innings, had just 76 strikeouts and went 16-6. That's a good total, but hardly sterling when you look at what Drysdale (and Farrell) did.

What did Farrell do? Well, he went 10-20, but won 10 games for a team that only won 64 games. He threw 241 innings in his first season as a starting pitcher, after spending a ton of time in Philadelphia's bullpen. He struck out 203 batters while walking only 55. He had an ERA+ of 124, which was much higher than Pierce's 110 ERA+ that season.

I really think Farrell was a better pitcher that season. There's no way, in that era, that he gets a nod. But, I definitely think he should have.

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