NEW YORK -- David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays and R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets won Major League Baseball's Cy Young awards on Wednesday.
Price barely beat out 2011 winner Justin Verlander for the American League award in one of the closest votes ever. Dickey was an easy choice for the National League honour in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
The 38-year-old Dickey became the first pitcher who relied predominantly on a knuckleball to win the Cy Young Award, an achievement mentors such as Hall of Famer Phil Niekro are quite proud of.
Runner-up two years ago in the Cy Young race, Price was the pick this time for the AL's top pitching prize. He received 14 of 28 first-place votes to edge Verlander, chosen first on 13 ballots.
Price and Dickey were raised only 34 miles (55 kilometres) apart in central Tennessee. But their paths to the majors were much different.
Price was the top pick in the MLB draft and an ace by age 25, throwing 98 mph (158 kph) heat with a left arm live enough to make the most hardened scout sing.
Dickey languished in the minors for 14 years, bouncing from one team to another before finally perfecting that perplexing knuckleball that's made him a star.
"Isn't that awesome?" Dickey said. "It just shows you there's not just one way to do it, and it gives hope to a lot of people."
Dickey said he jumped up and yelled in excitement, scaring one of his kids, when he saw on television that Price edged Verlander. Both winners are represented by Bo McKinnis, who watched the announcements with Dickey at his home in Nashville, Tennessee.
"I guess we can call him Cy agent now," Price quipped on a conference call.
Dickey joined Dwight Gooden (1985) and three-time winner Tom Seaver as the only Mets to win the award. The right-hander went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA, making him the club's first 20-game winner since Frank Viola in 1990, and became the first major leaguer in 24 years to throw consecutive one-hitters.
Perhaps most impressive, Dickey did it all during a season when the fourth-place Mets finished 74-88.
Price went 20-5 to tie Jered Weaver for the AL lead in victories and winning percentage. The 27-year-old lefty had the lowest ERA at 2.56 and finished sixth in strikeouts with 205.
One factor that could have swung some votes for Price was that he faced stiffer competition in the rugged AL East than Verlander did in the AL Central.
"I guess it's a blessing and a curse at the same time," Price said. "There's not an easy out in the lineups every game. It feels like a post-season game."