Kelowna Falcons

WCL Alum Honoured

Wednesday, former Cowlitz Black Bears pitcher Shane Bieber was unanimously chosen as winner of the 2020 American League Cy Young Award after a dominating season for the Cleveland Indians. Bieber is the first WCL alumni to win a Cy Young Award.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled for Shane Bieber, the Cowlitz Black Bears, and the entire West Coast League,” said WCL Commissioner Rob Neyer, “And as we move into an exciting new era for our league, we’ll only see more of our stars become MLB stars. Or like Shane Bieber, superstars.”

After pitching for the Black Bears in 2014, Bieber completed his standout career at UC Santa Barbara, and was selected by the Indians in the fourth round of the 2016 MLB Draft. He made his MLB debut in 2018, posting an 11-5 record in 20 appearances during his rookie campaign. In 2019, he went 15-8 and was named MVP of the All-Star Game and ultimately finished fourth in A.L. Cy Young balloting.

Unfortunately Falcons’ fans didn’t see Bieber pitch in 2014 as the Black Bears came to Elks Stadium for a three-game series but he never saw the mound.

This year, Bieber captured the stellar Pitcher’s Triple Crown, leading the American League in wins, ERA, and strikeouts. Bieber is only the 12th Triple Crown winner in American League history, and the loop’s seventh unanimous Cy Young winner; he’s just the fifth American Leaguer to accomplish both feats, joining Roger Clemens, Pedro Martínez, Johan Santana, and Justin Verlander.

During his summer with Cowlitz in 2014, Bieber posted a 1.44 ERA in six starts, not allowing an earned run in four of those starts. He was selected to play in the WCL All-Star Game, and earned first-team All-League honors.

Bieber is the second former WCL hurler in the last week to garner significant American League honors, with Wenatchee AppleSox alumni Griffin Canning winning an A.L. Gold Glove Award following his fine season with the Los Angeles Angels.

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