Kershaw Wins Cy Young Award at 23

Clayton Kershaw received 27 of a possible 32 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers to win the 2011 National League Cy Young Award. Kershaw's selection is the 10th won by a Dodgers pitcher, the first since reliever Eric Gagne in 2003, the first by a Dodgers starter since Orel Hershiser in 1988 and first by a Dodgers lefty since Fernando Valenzuela in his 1981 rookie season.

The 23-year-old Texan's 2011 season was a breakout for Kershaw. A 2011 All-Star,he won the NL's Triple Crown for pitchers, leading the league with 21 wins (tied), a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts. Koufax (1963, 1965 and 1966) and Dazzy Vance (1924) are the only other Dodgers pitchers to win a Triple Crown. Kershaw also was among the league leaders in opponents' batting average (.192-second), innings pitched (233-fourth), complete games (five-third), shutouts (two-tied second) and WHIP (0.98-second).

His victory total (21) and ERA (2.28) were the best by a Dodgers starting pitcher since Hershiser in 1988 and his strikeout total (248) was the highest by a Dodger since Koufax's 317 in 1966. He was the Dodgers' first 20-game winner since Ramon Martinez in 1990. Kershaw went 13-1 over the second half, was 12-1 at Dodger Stadium and finished the season with eight consecutive wins.

Kershaw finished 21-5 overall and was a Gold Glove winner (he led the league with nine pickoffs), the first Dodger to win a Cy Young and Gold Glove in the same year since Hershiser (1988).

Kershaw picked up about all the hardwear being given away, having already won the Warren Spahn Award as the best left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball, won a Players Choice Award for outstanding pitcher in the NL, was named to The Sporting News NL All-Star team, was a finalist for the Roberto Clemente Award and was named Dodgers Pitcher of the Year by MLB.com.

His win total and ERA were the best by a Dodgers starting pitcher since Hershiser in 1988 and his strikeout total was the highest by a Dodger since Koufax's 317 in 1966. He was the Dodgers' first 20-game winner since Ramon Martinez in 1990. Kershaw went 13-1 over the second half, was 12-1 at Dodger Stadium and finished the season with eight consecutive wins.

Kershaw began his third full season in the Major Leagues as the Opening Day starter and ended it by becoming the youngest 20-game winner in the Major Leagues since 20-year-old Dwight Gooden of the Mets in 1985 and the youngest Dodgers 20-game winner since 21-game winner Ralph Branca in 1947. He went 12-2 against the NL West, 5-0 against the Giants and 4-0 against their ace, two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum.

In his third full season in the Major Leagues he became the Dodgers the Opening Day starter and ended it by becoming the youngest 20-game winner in the Major Leagues since 20-year-old Dwight Gooden of the Mets in 1985 and the youngest Dodgers 20-game winner since 21-game winner Ralph Branca in 1947. He went 12-2 against the NL West, 5-0 against the Giants and 4-0 against their ace, two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum.

2011 NL CY YOUNG VOTING TOTALS

 Pitcher  team		lst  2nd  3rd  4th  5th  total
Clayton Kershaw, LA	27   3   2   0   0   0   207
Roy Halladay, Phil	 4  21   7   0   0   0   133
Cliff Lee, Phil		 0  21  17   0   0   0    90
Ian Kennedy, DBks	 1   3   6  18   3   0    76
Cole Hammels, Phil	 0   0   0   2  13  17    17
Tim Lincecum, SF	 0   0   0   0   1   5     7
Uovani Gallardo, Mil	 0   0   0   0   1   5     5
Matt Cain, SF		 0   0   0   0   1   1     3
John Axelford, Mil	 0   0   0   0   0   2     2
Craig Kimbrel, Atl	 0   0   0   0   0   2     2
M. Bumbarner, SF	 0   0   0   0   0   1     1
Ryan Vogelsong, SF	 0   0   0   0   0   1     1		
Two Baseball Writers Assiciation of America voters, representing each major league team, select their top three choices and points are tabulated on a 5-3-1 basis.

Kershaw's charitable work, which led to the Clemente nomination, includes an organization called Arise Africa, which raises money to help build orphanages in Zambia. Kershaw plans to make a second visit to the African nation this winter with his wife, Ellen, and donated $100 per strikeout to the organization this season as a part of his "Kershaw's Challenge" program in hopes of building another orphanage.

Eric Gagné, the overwhelming winner in the 2003 Cy Young Award voting, was he last Dodger winner. He also finished in fourth place in 2002 and eighth place on the 2004 ballots, becoming the first relief pitcher in Dodger history to be given votes three years in succession.

Gagné, at 27, became only the ninth relief pitcher in Major League history to win the award in 2003 and the second Dodger reliever, joining Mike Marshall in 1974.

Don Sutton received votes in five different seasons without every winning the big trophy. Sandy Koufax received votes in four seasons, 1963-66, earning the honor three times, all three when a winner was chosen from the entire Major Leagues, not just the National and American Leagues.

Fernando Valenzuela also earned votes over four seasons and won in 1981. Orel Hershiser received votes in 1985, 1987-89, winning in 1988.

Dodgers Cy Young winners
Don Newcombe was the first winner. Sandy Koufax won three titles. The award was given to the best pitcher of both leagues from 1956 to 1966 and has been given to the best pitcher in each league since 1967. Koufax might well have won four years in a row. He finished third in the 1964 voting and would have been the N.L. winner had they honored a player from each league that season.
 
 Dodger winners
2011—Clayton Kershaw
2003—Eric Gagné
1988—Orel Hershiser
1981—Fernando Valenzuela
1974—Mike Marshall
1966—Sandy Koufax*
1965—Sandy Koufax*
1963—Sandy Koufax*
1962—Don Drysdale*
1956—Don Newcombe*
 * only one winner chosen
All-time Dodger leader
Using the same voting method used by the BBWA for MVP totals, counting first place votes 14, second nine and third eight on down the line, Koufax has a 50 point total and leads Fernando Valenzuela who has 37 and Orel Hershiser who has 36.

Don Sutton, with five top 10 finishes has 33 points, Gagné 21. Ramon Martinez and Andy Messersmith have 15 points and lead five Cy Young winners Newcombe, Don Drysdale, Mike Marshall, Hideo Nomo and Kershaw who are all tied for seventh with 14.

All-time leaders with top 10 finishes in brackets:

                         1st	2nd	3rd	pts
Sandy Koufax (4)          3	0	1	50
Fernando Valenzuela (4)	  1	1	1	37
Orel Hershiser (4)        1	0	1	36
Don Sutton (5)            0	0	1	33
Eric Gagné (3)      	  1	0	0	24
Ramon Martinez (2)  	  0	1	0	15
Andy Messersmith (2)      0	1	0	15
Don Drysdale (1)     	  1	0	0	14
Clayton Kershaw (1)	  1     0       0       14
Mike Marshall (1)      	  1	0	0	14
Don Newcombe (1)      	  1	0	0	14
Hideo Nomo (3)      	  0	0	0	14
   Others: 
11 points—Tommy John (2)
10—Kevin Brown (2)
 9—Al Downing (1)
 9—Burt Hooton (1), 
 9-Sal Maglie (1)
 9-Jerry Reuss (1)
 6—Todd Worrell (1)
 5—Tim Belcher (1)
 4—Bob Welch (1) 
 2—Takashi Saito [1].

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