The baseball world has lost a Hall of Famer. Longtime starting pitcher Don Sutton died in his sleep this week, according to his son. Sutton was 75.
In his 23-year career, Sutton was a four-time All-Star who finished in the top five in Cy Young voting five times, topping out at third. He won an ERA title in 1980 at 2.20, four times led his league in WHIP and three times led in strikeout-to-walk ratio. He played mostly for the Dodgers, but also spent time with the Angels, Brewers, Astros and Athletics.
« Today we lost a great ballplayer, a great broadcaster and, most importantly a great person, » said Dodgers President Stan Kasten in a statement. « Don left an indelible mark on the Dodger franchise during his 16 seasons in Los Angeles and many of his records continue to stand to this day. I was privileged to have worked with Don in both Atlanta and Washington, and will always cherish our time spent together. On behalf of the Dodger organization, we send our condolences to the entire Sutton Family, including Don’s wife Mary, his son Daron and his daughters Staci and Jacquie. »
A model of durability, Sutton racked up 324 wins (14th all-time), 3,574 strikeouts (seventh all-time) and 5,282 1/3 innings (seventh all-time). He holds the MLB record for 200-inning seasons at 20. He’s tied for fifth with 15 seasons of at least 225 innings. In the first 15 years of his career, all with the Dodgers, Sutton averaged 249 innings per season.
Sutton ranks third all-time in career starts. Here’s the leaderboard:
- Cy Young, 815
- Nolan Ryan, 773
- Don Sutton, 756
He’s even ninth in history in batters faced.
« Throughout his career, Don represented our game with great class, and many will remember his excitement during his trips to Cooperstown, » MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a press release. « On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to Don’s family, friends and the many fans he earned throughout a memorable life in our National Pastime. »
Sutton pitched in five different postseasons, advancing to the World Series as a pennant winner with the 1974 Dodgers, 1977 Dodgers, 1978 Dodgers and 1982 Brewers. Winning the World Series while being an active player eluded Sutton, as he was released from the championship-winning Dodgers in August of 1988.
Sutton was enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a player in 1998 in his fifth try on the ballot, netting 81.6 percent of the vote.
Sutton also put his mark on the Braves as a broadcaster after his playing career ended. He worked with the team on both television and radio for parts of 28 years. He is now one of five broadcasters in the Braves Hall of Fame.
« We are deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend, Don Sutton, » the Braves said in a statement. « A generation of Braves fans came to know his voice, as Don spent 28 seasons broadcasting Braves games after a 23-year, Hall-of-Fame Major League career with the Dodgers, Astros, Brewers and Angels. Don was as feared on the mound as he was beloved in the booth. A 300-game winner who was a four-time All-Star, Don brought an unmatched knowledge of the game and his sharp wit to his calls. But despite all the success, Don never lost his generous character or humble personality. »