The Giants' 25-year-old flame-thrower edged out Cardinals' teammates Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright in an election that was just as tight and unpredictable as expected, with a twist at the end.
Lincecum (15-7, 2.48) had the fewest victories of any starter to win the Cy Young in a nonstrike season, and he also became only the second pitcher to win the Cy Young without getting the most first-place votes.
Lincecum received 11 first-place votes among the 32 ballots cast, from two writers in each National League city. Wainwright got 12 first-place votes, but he finished third because he had only five second-place votes. Carpenter, the only one of the three who was not named on all 32 ballots, got nine first-place votes and finished second.
In 1998, Tom Glavine edged Trevor Hoffman, despite getting two fewer first-place votes than Hoffman.
With voting based on a 5-3-1 points system, Lincecum totaled 100 points, followed by Carpenter with 94 and Wainwright with 90.
The six-point margin between the top two was tied for the third smallest since Cy Young voting expanded to three spots per ballot in 1970. The smallest margin was Steve Bedrosian's two-point victory over Rick Sutcliffe in 1987, followed by Fernando Valenzuela's three-point win over Tom Seaver in 1981. The 1979 election was also a six-point victory, for Bruce Sutter over Joe Niekro.
This race was expected to be a tight one because the pitchers had such similar performances.
|How They Voted
|Voting for 2009 NL Cy Young (5 points for a first-place vote, 3 for second, 1 for third):|
| Lincecum, Giants
| Carpenter, Cardinals
| Wainwright, Cards
| Vazquez, Braves
| Haren, D-backs
The voting was completed before the start of the playoffs (and before Lincecum had been arrested for possession of marijuana, by the way).
With the repeat victory, Lincecum became the first pitcher since Randy Johnson to win consecutive Cy Youngs. Johnson won four in a row from 1999-2002.
Lincecum, at 25 years, five months, is the youngest pitcher to win back-to-back Cy Youngs since Roger Clemens won his second in 1987 at 25 years and three months.
There have been eight pitchers who have won back-to-back Cy Young awards. Johnson and Greg Maddux hold the record at four in a row, followed by Clemens, Sandy Koufax, Lincecum, Pedro Martinez, Denny McClain and Jim Palmer, who each won two in a row. Clemens won two in a row twice.
At the end of Lincecum's conference call with the media, he read a statement regarding the marijuana charges.
"I made a mistake and I regret my actions earlier this month in Washington. I want to apologize to the Giants organization and to the fans. I know as a professional athlete I have a responsibility to conduct myself appropriately both on and off the field. I certainly have learned a valuable lesson through all this and promise to do better in the future. I hope and expect the matter will be resolved soon. In the meantime, I am focused on preparing for the 2010 season. Since all this is still pending before the courts, this is all I can say on the topic right now."