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Today in White Sox History: November 28

A rising righty star gives Warren Spahn a scare — sort of

He didn’t outpitch Warren Spahn, but Dick Donovan had a heck of a year in 1957.


While by WAR it was just the 11th-best season of his career, Warren Spahn was nearly a unanimous pick to win what would be the only Cy Young of his career, earning 15 of 16 votes in what was then an award given across MLB, not by league. The amazing southpaw led the majors with 21 wins and 18 complete games, putting up 4.8 WAR and a 2.69 ERA. He also relieved in four games — earning saves in three of them! Spahn’s 18 CGs also started a streak of seven seasons in which he led the NL in complete games, and in six of those seasons he led all of MLB.

Spoiling Spahn’s unanimous bid was White Sox hurler Dick Donovan, who snatched a vote away. Like Spahn, Donovan would have at least one better season on his record (1961), but 1957 was the closest he’d come to a Cy. In fact, this was the only year the righty would ever earn Cy Young votes. Donovan put up a 3.9 WAR and led the majors with a .727 winning percentage (16-6 record). His 16 complete games led the American League.

Donovan finished 13th in AL MVP voting, while Spahn finished fifth in the NL tally.