As we wait for the annual Cy Young Awards, we remember Mike Cuellar as one of the top left handed pitchers in the American League.
Cuellar was traded to Baltimore after pitching with Houston and making the NL All Star Team. Nobody expected the crafty Cuban to win 143 games over the next 8 seasons, 1969-75.
In 1969, Cuellar won 23 for the AL Champion Orioles who won 109 games. Mike finished in a tie with Denny McClain (24 wins) for the AL Cy Young. He also won game 1 of the World Series, or the only game that the Orioles won, and pitched very well in game 4 but lost 2-1.
In 1970, Cuellar won 24 and came in 4th behind Jim Perry, Dave McNally & Sam McDowell in the Cy Young Award race. Mike pitched a complete game in game 5 to beat Cincinnati and clinch the title for Baltimore.
In 1971, Cuellar was one of the 4 Orioles who won 20 games. Mike pitched twice in the World Series but lost game 7 when the late Roberto Clemente hit a game winning home run.
He also won 18 in 1973 and 22 in 1974, including several starts in the pennant race with 2-days rest. Once again, he pitched in the post season but the A’s beat the Orioles in the ALCS both times.
Cuellar retired with 185 wins and a 3.14 ERA.
Without question, he was the most consistent lefty in the American League during that time.