Denton True Young (1867-1955). Name ring a bell? I hope not! (If it does, you’re probably a hopeless baseball nerd like myself).
How about “Cy” Young? One of the game’s all-time greats, Young compiled an unbelievable 511-316 record (both the wins and losses are Major League records which will never be broken) with a 2.63 ERA, 2,803 strikeouts, 749 complete games (749! Seven hundred forty-nine!) and 76 shutouts. He also pitched three no hitters, including the third perfect game in Major League history. The man even has baseball’s greatest pitching honor named after him – the Cy Young Award. I think they should rename it – the Denton True Award has a great ring to it, don’t you think? Denton is, unquestionably, one of the game’s greatest players, and holds a much-deserved spot in baseball’s Hall of Fame.
The erstwhile Spider, Perfecto, Nap, and Rustler (man they had great team names back in the day) had an interesting upbringing. Raised on an Ohio farm, Cy went by the name of Dent Young as a Young boy, and was also known as “Farmer Young” and “Farmboy Young.” He quit school after the sixth grade to help out on his family’s farm. I guess that makes Denton True one of the few ballplayers to truly come from “down on the farm!” (For those of you who don’t closely follow America’s pastime, lower levels of professional baseball are known as the “farm system” – don’t worry, you won’t see any cows or chickens running wild on the field!)
Anyway, Denton True got the nickname “Cy” from the fact that during a minor league tryout, Young “almost tore the boards off the grandstand with [his] fast ball,” which caused reporters to nickname him “Cyclone” since the boards looked like they had been hit by a tornado. The nickname was later shortened to “Cy.” Wow, what a way to get a nickname!
After his baseball career, Cy went back to live and work on his farm. He died in 1955 in Newcomerstown, Ohio.
This courtesy of Ogden Nash, once again:
Y is for Young
The magnificent Cy;
People batted against him,
But I never knew why.
You go, Denton True!