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Each pitcher is a finalist for the American League Cy Young Award, which the Baseball Writers’ Association of mlb baseball jerseys America will hand out Wednesday (6 p.m. ET, MLB Network). Each one also prepared for the professional level by playing college ball in the Southeastern Conference (SEC). This marks the first time in the history of the award that the top three finishers in either league all played in the same collegiate conference.
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While Keuchel pitched at Arkansas, Gray and Price both starred at Vanderbilt. Previously, no other pair of top-three finishers from the same league had ever come out of the same school, though it had happened in different leagues. In 1970, Jim Perry won the AL Cy Young Award and his brother, Gaylord, finished second to Bob Gibson in National League voting. Both had attended Campbell University in North Carolina.
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In the history of Most Valuable Player Award voting, two players from the school have finished in the top three twice. Former Arizona State players Reggie Jackson and Jim Palmer finished first and second, respectively, in the AL MVP Award voting in 1973, and the next season, Steve Garvey and Mike Marshall of Michigan State placed first and third in the NL MVP Award voting.
Keuchel spent three seasons with the Razorbacks, going 9-3 with a 3.92 ERA as a junior and winning two games in the College World Series. The Astros took him in the seventh round of the 2009 Draft, and the left-hander was an All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner for Houston this season, going 20-8 with a 2.48 ERA.
Price enjoyed a highly successful three-season run at Vanderbilt. The lefty was a Freshman All-American pick by Baseball America in 2005, won the prestigious Golden Spikes Award as the nation’s best amateur player in ’07, and finished with a 2.55 career ERA and nearly 13 strikeouts per nine innings. Drafted first overall by the Rays in ’07, he won the AL Cy Young Award for Tampa Bay in ’12 and went 18-5 with a 2.45 ERA this season for Detroit and Toronto.
Gray followed Price’s lead, pitching for the Commodores from 2009-11. Over his final two seasons, he logged 38 games (35 starts) and went 22-9 with a 2.92 ERA, helping Vandy to the semifinals of the College World Series his last year. The 18th overall pick in the ’11 Draft by Oakland, Gray made his first All-Star team this year, going 14-7 with a 2.73 ERA.
Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. Share This Email Print + Hide Comments