The ladies at Cardinal Diamond Diaries did a great job discussing the merits of Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright for the 2009 Cy Young Award. This is not the first time that Cardinal hurlers have split the Cy Young vote, and hopefully it will not be the last. We have also been the victim of some anti-midwest bias in other award voting, so that is nothing new either. This one might have been a bit more difficult to take as a few of the voters seemed as if they more interested in making a statement rather than voting for the most deserving candidate.
Thinking about this a little more, there was something special that happened in the 2009 season. When Chris Carpenter came off the disabled list, something was different. It was more than just Carpenter himself, everybody played better. Carpenter was lights out, but Adam Wainwright picked his game up and went from struggling to win to total domination. The bats started hitting with an alarming potency. It was as if Chris Carpenter had just picked up the team and moved them to the top of the division, all by himself. I guess that was not enough for some of the Cy Young voters, if they even cared enough to notice.
That got me thinking a bit more, and memories of other such performances started calling for some attention. Perhaps we need an award to recognize this type of heroic performance, not for an entire season, but for picking up a team when it is most needed and doing so over an extended period of time. I propose such an award, called the Atlas Award, named after the Greek Titan who is often depicted carrying the earth on his back. I am going to go back and retroactively bestow some Atlas awards, recognizing some heroic performances that may have been lost in the box scores. I hope you enjoy these, and please share some of your own Atlas Awards.