Clayton Kershaw returned to Oklahoma City Wednesday to add another trophy to his already impressive and historic collection.
The seven-time MLB All-Star and three-time Cy Young Award-winning pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers received his fourth Warren Spahn Award as the outstanding left-handed pitcher in baseball last season.
Kershaw, 29, collected his fourth Warren Spahn Award as part of the 19th Warren Spahn Awards Gala held at the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club. He is now tied with National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson with a record four Warren Spahn Awards.
Spahn is regarded as the best left-handed pitcher in MLB history, having won 363 games. He was named to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973 and although he was not born in Oklahoma, the state became his home and where he spent his final days. The award named in his honor is calculated using wins, ERA and total strikeouts.
Kershaw won the Warren Spahn Award in 2011, 2013, 2014 before collecting 18 wins, 202 strikeouts and a 2.31 ERA over 175 innings in 2017 to claim his fourth trophy.
"It's a special night to get to be honored with Warren Spahn and some of the amazing people that have won this award," Kershaw said to the Gala crowd after receiving the trophy.
The awards dinner and ceremony marked his second public appearance in Oklahoma City in five months and first since the Dodgers won the 2017 National League pennant and advanced to the World Series.
Kershaw started a Pacific Coast League game for the Oklahoma City Dodgers Aug. 26, 2017 against the Omaha Storm Chasers as part of a Major League Rehab Assignment at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark while recovering from a back injury last season.
He racked up eight strikeouts over five innings for Oklahoma City in his first game action in more than one month. His appearance brought a sold-out, standing-room-only crowd of 13,106 to Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark - the third-largest crowd in the ballpark's 20 seasons and largest since 1998.
"I had a ton of fun. It was awesome," Kershaw said. "Thanks everybody for making it a great time. I had some buddies drive up from Dallas, our hometown, and we made a night of it. It was a great day. Thank you all for hosting me.
"I hope I never come back in that way again, but it was a blast," he added with a laugh.
Kershaw went on to start six regular-season games for the Los Angeles Dodgers to close out September, then made five starts and six total postseason appearances.
Kershaw started and recorded wins in the National League Division Series, National League Championship Series and the World Series.
The World Series extended to seven games with the Houston Astros clinching the final game to win the Commissioner's Trophy.
"The World Series was a special thing," Kershaw said. "As baseball players we all say that the World Series is our ultimate goal and it really is. To get to experience it and get to be there and then get to lose it in the last game like that, it makes you understand and appreciate how important the World Series is - not just to your team, but the entire city."
Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training Feb. 13 and hold their first workout of 2018 Feb. 14 at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz.
Returning to the World Series is the ultimate goal for Kershaw in 2018. A trip back to Oklahoma City for the Warren Spahn Awards Gala next year would allow him to add another record to his long list of accolades.
"I hope to see you all again," Kershaw said to the Gala attendees. "Hopefully not in a few years - maybe next year. Thank you all very much."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.