In an extremely tight race, Gaylord Perry edged Wilbur Wood for AL Cy Young, 64 votes to 58. Both hurlers had very similar, 24-win seasons:
- Wood threw 34 more innings (376.2!), started nine more games (49), and had three more shutouts (eight).
- Perry had one fewer loss (16), had nine more complete games (29), and had key edges in ERA (1.92 to 2.51), ERA+ (168 to 126), and WHIP (0.978 to 1.059).
In the final accounting, Perry had a slightest of edges in rWAR (10.8 to 10.7) and finished sixth in AL MVP voting to Wood’s seventh.
But for fans of “meaningful games,” the decision was hard to swallow: Perry’s Clevelanders finished sixth in the AL East (72-84), while Wood’s White Sox were 16 games better, finishing second in the AL West (87-67).
Wood would have been just the second White Sox pitcher ever to win a Cy Young (Early Wynn, 1959) and would have joined Dick Allen (MVP) as major award winners in 1972 for the upstart South Siders.
As the White Sox were winning their first World Series in 88 years, Sports Illustrated put Scott Podsednik and his winning home run from the second game on the cover. The long headline read, “World Series. In A Match Up Of Two Title Hungry Teams, The White Sox Struck First, Dramatically Downing The Astros In Games 1 And 2.”
Sports Illustrated then basically ignored the White Sox winning the series by only putting a small circle shot of the team celebrating in the corner of the following week’s cover, breaking a longstanding tradition. The cover that week was Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, as the magazine previewed a regular season NFL game — not a Super Bowl matchup, not a playoff contest — but a regular-season meeting.