Doug Drabek has a nice-guy, aw-shucks image. But he can be just as nasty on the mound as any of Cincinnati's Nasty Boys.
The league's winningest pitcher on the league's winningest team, Drabek was a near-unanimous choice as the National League's Cy Young Award winner, earning 23 of 24 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers of America Association."Win something like this? I never let myself think about it, even after the season was over," Drabek said. "I realized that this was just one of those years that may never happen again. Maybe it was just meant to be that I won this season.
"I've got to try to pitch next season like it never happened."
Drabek feigned shock Wednesday after winning an award that was all but conceeded to him after his 22-6 season. Pirates manager Jim Leyland, campaigning for him since the middle of May, wasn't surprised at all.
"He was the best pitcher in the league - no doubt, no question," Leyland said. "We didn't have an Eckersley, but we did have Cy Young."
The Pirates' first Cy Young Award winner since Vernon Law in 1960, Drabek was almost unbeatable after a 2-3 start.
Ramon Martinez, the Los Angeles Dodgers' hard-throwing 22-year-old, was second with one first-place vote and 70 points. Frank Viola of the New York Mets was third with two second-place votes and 13 thirds for 19 points.