No. 4) David Cone 1994
The 1994 season will always be infamous for the strike that caused the cancellation of the World Series—the first year without one since 1904. It led to heartbreak in more than a few cities across the country. Montreal suffered the most, as the Expos had the best record in baseball before the stoppage. Kansas City also had been enjoying a solid season, and the Royals were just four games back in the newly developed AL Central.
Despite the season ending on Aug. 11, awards were still handed out with Kansas City Royals pitcher David Cone winning the Cy Young award. Had he been given a chance to play out the rest of the season, Cone might not have won the award. (He only beat Jimmy Keys by 12 points.) On the other hand, if he continued to pitch at the same pace, Cone might well have moved up this list.
He almost certainly would have reached 20 wins had the season not ended nearly two months early.
Either way, the Kansas City native had an outstanding season with his hometown club. Cone pitched to a 16-5 record while posting a 2.94 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP. He almost certainly would have reached 20 wins had the season not ended nearly two months early. Unfortunately, it was also Cone’s final season with the Kansas City Royals.
Despite having a stellar career, Cone bounced around quite a bit in his 17 seasons in the majors. The Rockhurst (Missouri) High School graduate started his career with the Royals after being drafted in the third round in 1981. But just prior to the 1987 season, he was traded to the Mets.
He spent five-and-a-half solid seasons in New York before a trade to Toronto midway through the 1992 season. After a few months with the Blue Jays, the free agent signed with the Royals during the offseason. Cone pitched OK in 1993 before his remarkable ’94 campaign. It wasn’t enough to keep the Royals from trading him—yet again—this time to the Blue Jays.
He also pitched for the Yankees, Red Sox and Mets again before finally calling it quits.