The Cy Young Award winners as Major League Baseball's best pitchers in 2012 couldn't be more different.
In the American League, a young left-hander with a blazing fastball, entering the prime of his career, narrowly topped the 2011 recipient.
In the National League, a 38-year-old knuckleballer with a mediocre track record until 2010 made his mark on history.
The Tampa Bay Rays' David Price garnered just enough votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America to win the AL prize. Price, 27, tied for the American League lead with 20 wins, against only five losses, and led the AL with a 2.56 earned run average . Both those marks were career bests for the former Vanderbilt University star, who the Rays chose with the top pick in the entire 2007 amateur draft. Price also struck out 205 batters, sixth-most in the league.
Price earned 14 first place votes, 13 second place votes and one third place nod from the baseball scribes. That acclaim was just enough to edge 2011 AL Cy Young Justin Verlander, who picked up 13 first place votes, 13 second place votes and two third place votes for his 17-8 won-lost record, his 2.64 ERA and his league-leading 239 strikeouts.
The writers' association says the contest was the closest since writers first started listing more than one pitcher on their ballots in 1970.
Price's teammate, relief pitcher Fernando Rodney, garnered the final first place AL vote, and finished fifth in the overall AL voting, among nine pitchers who gained mention.
Unlike Price, the New York Mets' R.A. Dickey dominated the competition in the NL Cy Young voting, just like he did from the mound this year.
Dickey became the first knuckleball thrower to win the game's most prestigious individual pitching award, earning 27 first place votes and five second place votes for his historic season. Dickey went 20-6, with a 2.73 ERA, and his dancing pitches baffled a National League-leading 230 hitters. In addition, Dickey led the NL in innings pitched, complete games, and shutouts.
Mirroring the AL, the 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner was this year's runner-up. Los Angeles Dodger Clayton Kershaw was rewarded for his outstanding season, which included a league-best 2.53 ERA and just one fewer strikeout than Dickey, with two first place votes, and second place overall
The Washington Nationals' Gio Gonzalez, the Cincinnati Reds' Johnny Cueto, and the Atlanta Braves' Craig Kimbrel each claimed one first place nod.
The Baseball Writers' Association of America is comprised of two beat writers representing each of the 14 teams in the American League and each of the 16 teams in the National League. Each writer ranks his or her top five pitchers in order, with points allocated on a 7-4-3-2-1 basis.