Don Sutton, a Corridor of Fame pitcher who was a stalwart of the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ rotation spanning an period from Sandy Koufax to Fernando Valenzuela, died Tuesday. He was 75.
The Baseball Corridor of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, stated Sutton died at his house in Rancho Mirage, California, after an extended wrestle with most cancers. The Atlanta Braves, for whom Sutton was a long-time broadcaster, stated he died in his sleep.
A four-time All-Star, Sutton had a profession document of 324-256 and an ERA of three.26 whereas pitching for the Dodgers, Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, California Angels and the Dodgers once more in 1988, his closing season.
The sturdy Sutton by no means missed a flip within the rotation in 756 large league begins. Solely Cy Younger and Nolan Ryan made extra begins than Sutton, who by no means landed on the injured checklist in his 23-year profession.
A grasp of fixing speeds and pitch location, Sutton recorded only one 20-win season however earned 10 or extra wins in yearly besides 1983 and 1988. Of his victories, 58 had been shutouts, 5 had been one-hitters and 10 had been two-hitters. The precise-hander is seventh on the profession strikeout checklist with 3,574.
Sutton ranks third all-time in video games began and seventh in innings pitched (5,282 1/3). He labored at the very least 200 innings in 20 of his first 21 seasons, with solely the strike-shortened 1981 season interrupting his streak.
“He labored as exhausting as anybody I’ve ever identified and he handled these he encountered with nice respect … and he took me to work loads,” his son, Daron, tweeted. “For all this stuff, I’m very grateful.”
Donald Howard Sutton was born April 2, 1945, in Clio, Alabama, the son of sharecroppers. The household moved to northern Florida, the place Sutton was a three-sport star in highschool who confirmed an affinity for baseball as a teenager. He performed the game in junior faculty earlier than the Dodgers signed him as a free agent in September 1964, months earlier than the primary MLB draft.
After going 23-7 throughout one season within the minors, Sutton gained a spot within the Dodgers’ rotation in 1966. He made his large league debut for the defending World Sequence champions on April 14, 1966, and earned his first victory 4 days later.
Sutton instantly discovered himself in a rotation with Koufax, Don Drysdale and Claude Osteen because the fourth starter. Sutton recorded 209 strikeouts that season, the very best whole for a rookie since 1911. He helped the group win the Nationwide League pennant however did not pitch within the World Sequence because the Dodgers had been swept in 4 video games by the Baltimore Orioles.
He additionally led the Dodgers to Nationwide League pennants in 1974, 1977 and 1978.
“At this time we misplaced an excellent ballplayer, an excellent broadcaster and, most significantly an excellent individual,” Dodgers president Stan Kasten stated. “I used to be privileged to have labored with Don in each Atlanta and Washington, and can all the time cherish our time spent collectively.”
Sutton left the Dodgers as a free agent in 1980 and signed with Houston.
A commerce in 1982 despatched Sutton to the Brewers, the place he pitched Milwaukee to its first American League pennant. He labored for his sixth postseason group in 1986 with the AL West champion Angels after which returned to the Dodgers in 1988, retiring earlier than the tip of a season that noticed them win the World Sequence.
Sutton was 4-1 with a 2.02 ERA in seven Nationwide League Championship Sequence video games and was 2-3 in eight World Sequence video games. Within the 1974 postseason for the Dodgers, he was 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 4 video games.
He was inducted into the Baseball Corridor of Fame in 1998. The Dodgers retired his quantity 20 the identical yr.
“2021 is simply taking freaking legends man,” Alex Wood, former Dodgers and Braves pitcher, tweeted. “Attending to be round Don day by day my first few years with the Braves was one thing I’ll cherish perpetually. He genuinely cared about everybody he talked to and was a wealth of information. Prayers up for his household.”
Throughout his lengthy profession in Southern California, Sutton also took a stab at present enterprise, showing on the long-lasting recreation present, “Match Recreation.”
Sutton carved out a brand new profession as a broadcaster after his taking part in days ended, spent nearly solely with the Atlanta Braves.
He joined the Braves in 1989 after they had been one in all baseball’s worst groups however had developed a nationwide following by means of the TBS superstation and its trio of broadcasters: Skip Caray, Pete Van Wieren and Ernie Johnson Sr.
Sutton was a part of the soundtrack for Atlanta’s worst-to-first season in 1991, its dominating run of 14 straight division titles, and the 1995 World Sequence championship. He referred to as Braves video games on tv and radio for 28 of 30 seasons, interrupted solely by his transfer to the Washington Nationals in 2007. He returned to the Braves in 2009 and continued to broadcast video games by means of the 2018 NL Division Sequence, when Atlanta misplaced to his long-time group, the Dodgers.
Shortly earlier than the beginning of the next season, Sutton broke his left leg. He struggled along with his restoration and by no means returned to the sales space.
The Braves stated they had been “deeply saddened by the passing of our expensive good friend.”
“A era of Braves followers got here to know his voice,” the group stated in a press release. “Don introduced an unmatched information of the sport and his sharp wit to his calls. However regardless of all his success, Don by no means misplaced his beneficiant spirit or humble persona.”
Sutton’s passing comes on the heels of seven Corridor of Famers dying in 2020, essentially the most sitting members of Cooperstown to cross away in a calendar yr. They had been Lou Brock, Whitey Ford, Bob Gibson, Al Kaline, Joe Morgan, Phil Niekro and Tom Seaver.
Sutton pitched for Dodgers Corridor of Fame supervisor, who died on January 7.
“ENOUGH! #DonSutton Such an aesthetic man,” Reds Corridor of Fame catcher Johnny Bench tweeted. “Nice profession not solely in baseball however broadcasting as nicely. I’m so unhappy.”
Apart from his son, Sutton is survived by his spouse, Mary, and daughters Staci and Jacquie.