Rest in Peace Don Sutton

Friday, January 22, 2021
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2021

Monday, Donald Howard Sutton lost his long battle with kidney cancer. He was a right-handed Hall of Fame pitcher who was not overpowering. He still holds many Los Angeles Dodger pitching records.

Sutton was from sharecroppers in Alabama. While the Sutton family was poor, its patriarch worked hard. The young Sutton was influenced by his father’s work ethic. During high school, Don Sutton played baseball, football, and basketball. He went to a community college in Florida.

In 1966, Sutton joined the Dodger starting rotation featuring future Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. Unlike Koufax and Drysdale, Sutton was a finesse pitcher. He had almost perfect control with an average fastball, a rainbow curveball, and a changeup. He had unique abilities to reduplicate his delivery and work on the corners.

During his 23-year Major League career, Sutton never had a trip on the disabled list. He won 324 games. He had 3,574 strikeouts. Tommy Lasorda frequently said if he needed to have a pitcher who must win a crucial game that it would be Don Sutton.

In 1982 after pitching for the Dodgers and the Houston Astros, Sutton helped the Milwaukee Brewers to reach the American League Championship Series. He pitched wonderfully during Game 3 in the ALCS.

For his last year in the Major Leagues, Sutton returned to the Dodgers. Although he could not finish the 1988 season, he earned a world champion ring. In 1998, Sutton was inducted into the Hall of Fame, and the Dodgers retired his #20.

After he retired from playing, Sutton joined the Atlanta Braves’ broadcasting team. His descriptions helped the normal fan understand pitching better. For the last 19 years, he fought kidney cancer.

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