R.A. Dickey languished in the minors for parts of 14 seasons, bouncing from one team to another before finally perfecting that perplexing knuckleball that made him a major league star.
David Price was the top pick in the draft and an ace by age 25, throwing 98 mph heat with a left arm live enough to make the most hardened scout sing.
Raised only 34 miles apart in central Tennessee, Dickey and Price won baseball's Cy Young awards on Wednesday -- one by a wide margin, the other in a tight vote.
Two paths to the pantheon of pitching have rarely been more different.
"Isn't that awesome?" said Dickey, the first knuckleballer to win a Cy Young. "It just shows you there's not just one way to do it, and it gives hope to a lot of people."
Dickey, 38, said he jumped up and yelled in excitement when he saw on television that Price edged Justin Verlander for the American League prize.
Price barely beat out Verlander in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, preventing the Detroit ace from winning consecutive Cy Youngs. Price received 14 of 28 first-place votes and finished with 153 points to 149 for Verlander, chosen first on 13 ballots.
"It means a lot,"
Dickey, 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA and a league-high 230 strikeouts, was listed first on 27 of 32 National League ballots to easily outdistance 2011 winner Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Tigers: Free-agent outfielder Torii Hunter has agreed to a $26 million, two-year deal with Detroit, giving the Tigers a capable corner outfielder coming off an impressive season at age 37.
A person with knowledge of the negotiations, speaking on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made, confirmed the deal and said Hunter has a physical scheduled for Friday. Hunter hit a career-best .313 last season for the Los Angeles Angels with 16 home runs and 92 RBIs.
Fuentes to retire: Left-hander Brian Fuentes, who pitched 12 seasons for six teams including the A's in 2011-12, told his hometown newspaper that he has decided to retire.
Fuentes, 37, pitched for the A's and Cardinals this past season. The reliever was released by Oakland and appeared in only six games for the Cardinals before asking for a leave of absence because of family issues.
"Ultimately, I was just having trouble with the time away from my family," Fuentes told the Merced Sun-Star. "I've been playing baseball for all of their lives, but I'd never been so far away as when I was in St. Louis."
Fuentes spent most of his career with the Rockies, making the All-Star team in three of his seven years in Colorado from 2002-08.
Wire services contributed to this report.