White Sox' Loaiza a distant second

Updated: November 12, 2003, 4:20 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Toronto's Roy Halladay won the American League Cy Young Award on Tuesday, easily beating Chicago's Esteban Loaiza.

Roy Halladay deserves the AL Cy Young Award. If I had a vote, he would have been my choice, without question.

After a rough month of April, it seemed that every time Halladay took the mound for the Blue Jays, they won. The Jays rallied around him, responding to his starts as a team only responds to its ace.

You can make a clear statistical case for Halladay's award. But beyond that, after watching him pitch several times this past season, I can tell you that it was impressive to see how the Jays played (and the confidence they displayed) when Halladay took the mound. I'm glad to see him win his first Cy Young.

It was a good race between Halladay and Esteban Loaiza, who had a phenomenal season. Last offseason, nobody wanted Loaiza, and he ended up with a nonguaranteed contract (so he had to earn a roster spot last spring). But while Loaiza lived a Cinderella story in '03, Halladay was a worthy Prince Charming.

Halladay, who won a major league-high 22 games, received 26 first-place votes and two seconds for 136 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Loaiza, who went to spring training with a minor league contract, got two firsts, 16 seconds and five thirds for 63 points.

Boston's Pedro Martinez was third with 20 points, followed by Oakland's Tim Hudson (15), Seattle's Jamie Moyer (12), the Yankees' Andy Pettitte (four) and Oakland's Keith Foulke and Minnesota's Johan Santana (one each).

Halladay, a 26-year-old right-hander, had never won more than eight games in a season before he went 19-7 in 2002.

He finished 22-7 with a 3.25 ERA this year, winning 15 consecutive decisions from May 1 to July 27 and tying for the AL lead with nine complete games.

His 1-0, 10-inning win over Detroit on Sept. 7 was the first extra-inning shutout in the major leagues since Jack Morris led Minnesota over Atlanta in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series.

Loaiza went 21-9 with a 2.90 ERA and a league-high 207 strikeouts.

Martinez, a three-time Cy Young winner, was 14-4 with a major league-leading 2.22 ERA.

AL Cy Young Award Voting
Player 1st 2nd 3rd Total
Halladay, Tor. 26 2   136
Loaiza, Chi. 2 16 5 63
Martinez, Bos.   3 11 20
Hudson, Oak.   4 3 15
Moyer, Sea.   2 6 12
Pettitte, N.Y.   1 1 4
Foulke, Oak.     1 1
Santana, Min.     1 1

Toronto pitchers have won the award in four of the past eight seasons.

Halladay follows Pat Hentgen (1996) and Roger Clemens (1997 and 1998). Clemens also won the 2001 AL Cy Young with the Yankees (he has a major-league record six overall).

Halladay gets a $100,000 bonus for winning.

Loaiza gets $90,000 for finishing second and Martinez $50,000 for finishing third.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press