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Clayton Kershaw Wins National League Cy Young Award

Los Angeles Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw works against the San Diego Padres in the first inning of a baseball game Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
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We can add Clayton Kershaw’s name to Don Newcombe’s, Don Drysdale’s, Sandy Koufax’s, Mike Marshall’s, Fernando Valenzuela’s, Orel Hershiser’s and Eric Gagné’s today. Kershaw joined the fraternity of Dodger pitchers to win the Cy Young Award as awarded by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

“I'm extremely thankful and humbled by this award,” said Kershaw in a press release. “The company that I'm in now... just to be mentioned with some of those guys. I'm just in awe. I never thought I'd be here."

The 23-year old Kershaw became the youngest Cy Young Award winner since 20-year old Dwight Gooden of the New York Mets in 1985. Expected to be a close vote, Kershaw won convincingly named first place on 27 of the 32 ballots, second on three ballots and third on two ballots for 207 points. Philadelphia Phillies Roy Halladay was runner up with four first-place votes and Arizona Diamondbacks’ Ian Kennedy got the other first-place vote.

Kershaw won the triple crown of pitching in the National League with 21 wins, 248 strikeouts and a 2.28 earned run average. Along with the American League Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, they became the first duo to win the Triple Crown of pitching in the same season since Walter Johnson of the Washington Senators and Dazzy Vance of the Brooklyn Robins (né Dodgers) did so in 1924.

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Kershaw also led the League with a 0.977 walks and hits per innings pitched and 6.7 hits per nine innings. He also pitched five complete games two of which were shutouts. The second half Kershaw was nothing short of brilliant: he went 12-1 after the All Star Break with a 1.31 ERA and allowing opponents to bat only .196. In only five of those last 14 starts did Kershaw give up more than one earned run and only once did Kershaw give up more than two.

The Dallas native was drafted with the seventh overall pick in the first round of the 2006 draft by the Dodgers. Kershaw made his Major League pitching debut on May 25, 2008 against the St. Louis Cardinals and during spring training of 2008 his curveball was described as, “Public Enemy No. 1,” by Vin Scully. On Nov. 1, Kershaw also captured a Rawlings Gold Glove Award for outstanding defense in his position.

Kershaw was also nominated by the Dodgers for the Roberto Clemente Award which recognizes the off-field contributions by a player. After visiting Zambia with his wife Ellen during the offseason, Kershaw joined Arise Africa which raises money to help build orphanages in Zambia. He donated $100 for each strikeout and has helped raise $47,530 for the charity.