WASHINGTON -- Once his name was announced, the room erupted in cheer and Max Scherzer was sprayed with champagne. They were sitting on a boat in the middle of the British Virgin Islands -- an annual trip between college friends and their wives -- while on a video call with MLB Network when they found out Scherzer had just been named the 2016 National League Cy Young Award winner by the Baseball Writers' Association of America on Wednesday.
It was the second career Cy Young Award for Scherzer, who also won the American League version of the award in 2013 with the Tigers. He became just the sixth pitcher in baseball history to win the award in both leagues. Scherzer received 25 of the 30 first-place votes and 192 points overall to best Cubs teammates Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks, who finished second and third, respectively.
"For some reason, this just means so much more to me," Scherzer said during a video call from the middle of the ocean. "It just verifies everything I try to go out there and set out to achieve. The best is that I try to go out there and do it. By winning the second one, it confirms that everything I try to do works."
Scherzer joins Gaylord Perry, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens and Roy Halladay as the only pitchers in Major League history to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues. Scherzer also became the first pitcher in Nationals history to win the NL Cy Young Award by putting together perhaps the best season in franchise history.
Esurance MLB Awards week concludes Friday on MLB Network and MLB.com at 8 p.m. ET with the MLB Awards. Categories include Best Major Leaguer, Hitter, Pitcher, Rookie, Executive and Manager.
Scherzer led the Majors with 284 strikeouts, including tying a Major League record for a nine-inning game with 20 strikeouts against the Tigers on May 11. He averaged 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings and posted the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in the NL at 5.07. He limited opposing baserunners better than anyone else, posting an MLB-leading 0.97 WHIP, threw an NL-high 228 1/3 innings and also collected an NL-leading 20 victories.
Although his ERA was higher than both Lester and Hendricks, Scherzer far exceeded both players in Wins Above Replacement for pitchers. Scherzer posted an NL-best 6.2 WAR, according to baseball-reference.com, compared to Lester's 5.3 WAR and Hendricks' 5.0.
"For me, it's a culmination of everything," Scherzer said. "From the coaching staff, how they prepared us, that I was able to do it with both [catchers Wilson Ramos] and [Jose Lobaton], everybody together in unison, competing at the same level when I took the mound, to go out there and actually do it.
"Consistently I was able to do what I was capable of. I know I have to change my game. I would like to get better. I'd like to get better in 2017. But to win this award, there's so much history to it, so much meaning to it."
Scherzer's former Tigers teammate, Rick Porcello, now with the Red Sox, won the award in the AL. The pitchers were close during their days in Detroit, and they used to critique each other's outings after each start and always tried to make each other better.
"I texted him right after I saw that he won it," Porcello said. "It looked like he was having a pretty good time out there on vacation."
When Scherzer became a free agent two offseasons ago, the Nationals signed him to be their ace, giving him the biggest contract in franchise history. He has responded with two of the best seasons in team history, a pair of no-hitters, a 20-strikeout game and now a Cy Young Award.
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.