The Yankees selected left-hander Ron Guidry in the third round of the 1971 June Amateur Draft and the little guy from Southwestern Louisiana (now Louisiana-Lafayette) waited awhile for his opportunity, but grabbed it tightly when he got it.
Guidry got his first call up in July 1975, making one start and 10 appearances overall, before being sent back to Triple-A Syracuse for most of the 1975 season as the Yankees tried to convert the 5-foot-11, 161-pounder into a reliever, concerned he didn’t have the stamina to make it as a starter.
Man, did they read that wrong.
Guidry made the team out of spring training in 1977 as a reliever, but excelled in one start against the Seattle Mariners in late April, throwing 8.1 innings of shutout baseball with eight strikeouts.
But he didn’t go into the rotation for good until three weeks later, but was solid, going 14-7 with a 2.96 ERA and 155 strikeouts in 188.1 innings over 24 starts the rest of the way.
Guidry came back in 1978 with one of the most dominant seasons in major league history.
He was 25-3 with a 1.74 ERA and 0.946 WHIP with 248 strikeouts in 273.2 innings, leading the league in wins, winning percentage, ERA, shutouts (nine), WHIP and hits per nine innings (6.1).
Guidry ran away with the Cy Young Award and finished runner-up to Jim Rice of the Boston Red Sox in the MVP race.
He went on to lead the AL in ERA again in 1979, in WHIP in 1981, in complete games (21) in 1983, in wins in 1985 and in fewest walks per nine innings in 1986.
Guidry was a four-time All-Star, finished second in the Cy Young voting in 1985 and was third in 1979, while also winning five Gold Gloves.
He was shut down after 17 starts and five relief appearances in 1987 because of shoulder problems, per the New York Times, that required surgery and his comeback in 1988 was limited to 12 games and 10 starts covering 56 innings. He retired after the season.
In 14 seasons with New York, Guidry was 170-91 with a 3.29 ERA (119 ERA+) and 1.184 WHIP in 2,392 innings, striking out 1,778 with 95 complete games and 26 shutouts.