He was born in Gilmore, Ohio.
Young is generally considered one of the greatest pitchers of all time. Not only is he a member of the United States Baseball Hall of Fame (elected in 1937), but the Cy Young Award, the premier annual award given to the best major league pitchers in each league, is named in his honor.
Young set a career record for wins, 511, which will probably never be matched under the current conditions of the game. Current seasons produce just a few pitchers with more than 20 wins, at which pace a pitcher would have to pitch for more than 25 years to surpass the record.
Young began his major league career in 1890 with the Cleveland Spiders and achieved stardom rapidly. He was one of the few star hurlers to maintain his level of success after the pitching mound was moved back to its present 60 feet 6 inches in 1893. He maintained that level for over two decades, playing for the St. Louis Perfectos in 1899 and 1900 (by which time they had become the Cardinals) before jumping to the fledgling American League in 1902 with the Boston Pilgrims, for whom he played till 1908. He retired after the 1911 season, following 2 seasons with the Cleveland Naps and a year split between the Naps and the Boston Rustlers. His arm was as strong as ever, but, he told an interviewer, he couldn't field bunts as well as he once could, and "when the third baseman has to do my work for me, it's time to quit."
His longevity was considered unique -- the injury rate caused by pitching conditions at the turn of the century resulted in even the most talented having pitching careers that rarely lasted one decade, let alone two.
He died in Newcomerstown, Ohio.