Unanimous pick Santana was 20-6

Updated: November 12, 2004, 11:25 AM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- As joyous fans celebrated by honking car horns in Caracas, Johan Santana sounded overwhelmed. He became the first Venezuelan to win a Cy Young Award, and not only that, he was a unanimous choice.

"This is like a dream come true," he said after earning the American League honor Thursday. "I'm a little surprised that I ended up the season where I ended up the season."

AL Cy Young Award Voting
First-, second- and third-place votes and total points on a 5-3-1 basis:
Player, team 1st 2nd 3rd Total
Santana, Min. 28 -- -- 140
Schilling, Bos. -- 27 1 82
Rivera, N.Y. -- 1 24 27
Martinez, Bos. -- -- 1 1
Nathan, Min. -- -- 1 1
Rodriguez, Ana. -- -- 1 1

The Minnesota Twins' left-hander received all 28 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Santana, who went 20-6 and led the AL with a 2.61 ERA and 265 strikeouts, became the first unanimous Cy Young winner since Arizona's Randy Johnson two years ago and the first in the AL since Boston's Pedro Martinez in 2000. He is the 18th unanimous winner overall, the seventh in the AL.

Curt Schilling, 21-6 with a 3.26 ERA in his first season with the Red Sox, received 27 second-place votes and one third for 82 points. Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees, who led the major leagues with a career-high 53 saves, received the other second-place vote and 24 thirds for 27 points.

"I'm surprised this has been a unanimous decision," Santana said. "I thought this was going to be a real tough race."

Santana traveled Thursday morning from his hometown of Tovar Merida to Caracas. President Hugo Chavez planned to congratulate him Friday.

"It's on national TV," Santana said. "Hopefully, in a couple of hours I'll be addressing the country and letting them know how I feel."

Santana was 13-0 with a 1.21 ERA in 15 starts after the All-Star break, mastering his changeup.

Notes on the Youngsters
Johan Santana's unanimous selection was the seventh in AL voting, including two each for Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez. There have been 11 unanimous choices in the National League, including three for Sandy Koufax and two for Greg Maddux.

Santana is the third Twins pitcher honored, joining Jim Perry (1970) and Frank Viola (1988).

Schilling ran second for the third time, equaling the most runner-up finishes in Cy Young balloting along with Warren Spahn and Randy Johnson. Schilling was also second in the NL in 2001 and '02 to Johnson, then his Arizona teammate. Spahn, the 1957 winner for the Milwaukee Braves, was second in 1958, '60 and '61 when only one award was given annually. Johnson, a five-time winner, was second in the AL with Seattle in 1993 and '97 and in this year's NL election, which was announced Tuesday.
-- Jayson Stark

"I expected it, with the numbers he had he couldn't fail," said Luis Aparicio, a Venezuelan voted to the Hall of Fame in 1984. "He's going to continue winning."

Voting was conducted before the start of the postseason, when Schilling beat the Yankees in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series and St. Louis in Game 2 of the World Series despite pitching with a dislocated ankle tendon held together by sutures. Boston went on to sweep St. Louis to win the World Series for the first time since 1918.

"It was amazing," Santana said. "To me, he was just a hero. He did great things for Boston and for baseball. That's a role model for a young baseball player to follow."

Schilling, who led the major leagues in wins, has never won a Cy Young Award. He was runner-up for the third time, tying Johnson, a five-time winner, and 1957 winner Warren Spahn for the most second-place finishes.

Schilling, who had a $12 million salary in 2004, earned a $400,000 bonus for finishing second. However, Schilling donates all of his bonuses to charity and has done so for years, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports.

Santana had a breakout season after going 12-3 for the Twins in 2003. Coming off surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow, he was 2-4 in 12 starts before beating the Mets on June 9.

After helping lead Minnesota to its third straight AL Central title, he beat the Yankees in the opener of their first-round playoff series and, pitching on three days' rest, left Game 4 with a 5-1 lead before New York rallied against the Twins' bullpen.

Santana, eligible for free agency after the 2006 season, lost in salary arbitration last February and earned a $1.6 million salary with no bonuses.

Houston's Roger Clemens won the NL honor Tuesday, his record seventh Cy Young Award.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES

ALSO SEE

MORE MLB HEADLINES

MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM