Though they arrived in the expansion era, the New York Mets have been prolific at producing Cy Young winners throughout their history. As of 2021, there have been seven Cy Youngs won by Mets pitchers, which is tied for the second most all-time for a single franchise behind the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, who collectively have amassed 12 Cy Youngs.
Even with Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, R.A. Dickey, and Jacob deGrom all taking home the hardware at least once during their careers, there have still been several seasons in which Mets pitchers finished in the top three in NL Cy Young voting but did not win the award.
If even one of these close calls swings differently, the Mets are alone in second place all-time for team Cy Young wins.
It’s always interesting to revisit past Cy Young votes and reimagine them in today’s era. As new stats become more or less emphasized by Cy Young voters (like wins), some of these old voting breakdowns begin to look rather archaic, and some obvious snubs, by today’s standards, can emerge. So, let’s rank the top five biggest Cy Young snubs in Mets history, starting with number five.
5. Jerry Koosman – 1976
For nearly a decade, the Seaver-Koosman tandem was at the top of the Mets’ rotation most seasons. Seaver’s career ultimately earned more glory, and rightfully so, but Koosman was an elite competitor and among the upper echelon of National League pitchers throughout his Mets tenure. His highest-profile season came in 1976, when he finished in second to the San Diego Padres’ Randy Jones for the NL Cy Young Award.
Unlike some of the other winners on this list, Jones had a very strong case. He led the NL with 40 (!) starts, 25 complete games, 315 1/3 innings, and a 1.027 WHIP. However, Koosman did best him in several areas, including ERA (2.69, to Jones’ 2.74), strikeouts (200, to Jones’ 93), ERA+ (121, to Jones’ 119), strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.03, to Jones’ 1.86), opponents’ batting average (.221, to Jones’ .229), and fielding independent pitching (2.83, to Jones’ 3.18).
There is something to be said for a pitcher throwing more innings than anyone else in the league and still pitching at an extremely high level, which Jones did in 1976. However, one could argue that on average, across his starts, Koosman was a slightly better pitcher than Jones that season.
1976 was a strong year for all three of the Mets’ top pitchers, as Jon Matlack and Seaver both finished sixth and eighth, respectively, in the NL Cy Young vote.