Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez has won the Spahn Award, given annually to the top left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball, presenters of the award announced Thursday.
The award, presented by the Bricktown Rotary Club of Oklahoma City and the Jim Thorpe Association, is based a pitcher's0 wins, strikeouts and earned run average. It is named for Oklahoman and national Baseball Hall of Famer Warren Spahn, whose 363 career victories are the most for a left-handed pitcher.
Gonzalez was 21-8 with 207 strikeouts and 2.89 ERA in 199.1 innings this season. He is a two-time All-Star and a key component to the Nationals' first division title since moving to Washington, D.C. Washington will make its first post-season appearance in the majors since 1933.
“I'm honored to even be mentioned in the same breath as Warren Spahn and the past winners of this award. I truly am humbled by this recognition,” Gonzalez said in a statement.
This year's race for the Spahn Award was the closest in the history of the award with the difference being Gonzalez's one additional win over Tampa Bay's David Price. Gonzalez and Price tied for the award, but Gonzalez won on a tiebreaker. Gonzalez's 21 victories were one more than Price.
Bill Hickman, chair of the Warren Spahn Award board said it was decided years ago that victories would be the tiebreaker because Spahn is the winningest left-handed pitcher.
“For the first time in the 14-year history of the Spahn Award, four different lefties have won the award in four consecutive years. This is a testament to the tremendous depth and quality of left-handed pitching we are currently seeing,” Hickman said in a statement.
Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers won in 2011, Price won in 2010, and C.C. Sabathia of the New York Yankees won in 2009.
The Spahn Award is presented at a black tie gala in Oklahoma City. The date for the banquet is to be announced. Farmers Insurance is the presenting sponsor of the award.