Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Friday, August 20, 2010

1976 Topps #530 - Don Sutton

  • Don Sutton had a very long Hall of Fame career. Sutton was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1964. Don moved up the ladder quickly, pitching for three clubs in the minors in 1965. He made the ballclub during spring training in 1966 and except for a brief stint in 1968 and a rehab assignment in 1988 he never looked back.
  • Sutton was a good fourth starter for the Dodgers in 1966. He went 12-12 with a 2.99 ERA in 35 starts. Don wasn't used in the World Series. By and for the Little Leagues - July 1966 Baseball Digest. Sutton moved up to #3 starter in 1967 after the retirement of Sandy Koufax and was 11-15 with a 3.95 ERA.
  • The Dodgers were mediocre in the first few years after Koufax retired and Sutton's record showed it. In 1968 Don was 11-15 with a 2.95 ERA. Sutton was 17-18 with a 3.47 ERA in 1969 and 15-13 with a 4.08 ERA in 1970.
  • In 1971 Don went 17-12 with a 2.54 ERA. Sutton made his first NL All Star team in 1972 (he pitched the 4th and 5th innings without allowing a run) and went 19-9 with a 2.08 ERA. Don also led the NL with nine shutouts in '72. Sutton had a similar year in 1973 (18-10, 2.43 ERA) and pitched a scoreless fifth inning in the All Star Game.
  • Sutton didn't make the All Star team in 1974 but he helped the Dodgers win the NL West title by going 19-9 with a 3.23 ERA. Don led the NL with 40 games started. Don started and won games 1 and 4 of the NLCS. Sutton started and won game 2 of the World Series, which was the only game the Dodgers would win in that series.
  • Don went 16-13 with a 2.87 ERA in 1975. He pitched two scoreless innings in the 1975 All Star Game. In 1976 Sutton won over 20 games for the only time in his career. He had a 21-10 record with a 3.06 ERA.
  • Before the 1977 season Don signed a four-year, $1 million contract. Sutton made his last NL All Star team in 1977. He started the game, pitched three scoreless innings, and got the win. During the regular season Don had a 14-8 record and a 3.18 ERA. Sutton started game 2 of the NLCS and had a complete-game victory. He started game 1 of the World Series and pitched into the 8th inning but didn't get the decision (the Dodgers lost the game in 12 innings). Don started game 5 and pitched a complete game for the victory.
  • Don was 15-11 with a 3.55 ERA in 1978. He started and lost game 3 of the NLCS. Sutton started and lost games 2 and 5 of the World Series. Don and Dodger star Steve Garvey got into a scuffle in the locker room before a game on August 20. Garvey was upset about some things Sutton said in an article. Neither player was seriously hurt, and Sutton issued an apology several days later.
  • The Dodgers had a rough year in 1979 and Sutton struggled along with the rest of the team (12-15, 3.82 ERA). In 1980 Don bounced back and led the NL in ERA. Sutton was 13-5 with a 2.20 ERA for the season. After the 1980 season Sutton became a free agent and signed with the Houston Astros.
  • In 1981 Don was 11-9 with a 2.61 ERA. Sutton suffered a fractured kneecap on October 2 when he was hit by a pitch from Jerry Reuss. The injury caused Don to miss the Division Series against the Dodgers, which the Astros lost three games to two.
  • Don started off well for the Astros in 1982, but the Astros weren't contending that year. Don was 13-8  with a 3.00 ERA when he was traded on August 30 to the Milwaukee Brewers for Kevin Bass, Frank DiPino, and Mike Madden. Sutton was 4-1 with a 3.29 ERA in seven starts for the Brewers and helped them win the AL East title. Don started and won game 3 of the ALCS. Don started game 2 of the World Series and left the game with the score tied 4-4 after pitching six innings. He started game 6 but took the loss as he allowed seven runs (five earned) in 4.1 innings.
  • Sutton pitched two more seasons for the Brewers. He was 8-13 with a 4.08 ERA in 1983 and 14-12 with a 3.77 ERA in 1984. After the 1984 season Don was traded to the Oakland A's for Ray Burris and two minor leaguers. Sutton wasn't happy with the trade.
  • Don pitched for the A's for less than a season. Sutton was 13-8 with a 3.89 ERA when he was traded to the California Angels on September 10 for two minor leaguers. Don went 2-2 for the Angels to finish the 1985 season. Don Sutton: An Unsung Achiever among Mound Elite - September 1985 Baseball Digest.
  • Sutton was 15-11 with a 3.74 ERA for the Angels in 1986. He won his 300th game on June 18 by pitching a complete game 3-hitter against the Texas Rangers. Don started game 4 of the ALCS against Roger Clemens but didn't get the decision (he allowed one run in 6.1 innings and the Angels won the game in the 11th inning). Sutton pitched 3.1 innings in game 7 of the series and allowed one run. He entered the game after starter John Candelaria allowed seven unearned runs in 3.2 innings.
  • Don pitched one more season (1987) for the Angels, going 11-11 with a 4.70 ERA in 34 starts. Jim Palmer once said that Sutton had showed him how to doctor a baseball (Palmer fingers Sutton as a baseball 'doctor' - August 26, 1987 Gainsville Sun). After the 1987 season the Angels declined to pick up Sutton's option and released him.
  • In 1988 former teammate John Candelaria accused Sutton of setting up one of his drunken driving arrests in 1987 by calling the police.
  • Don signed with the Dodgers for the 1988 season. Don missed time in June and July with a sprained right elbow and pitched in a rehab assignment for Class A Bakersfield. Sutton made one more start on August 9 but took the loss. He was 3-6 with a 3.92 ERA in 16 starts when the Dodgers released him on August 10. Two days later Don's mother was killed in an automobile accident.
  • After his playing career Sutton became an announcer for the Atlanta Braves. He announced with them from 1989-2006. The Braves cut the number of broadcast games after the 2006 season and Sutton moved on to announce for the Washington Nationals for the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Don now announces for the Braves on their radio network.
  • Sutton was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1998. He ended up with 324 career wins, 3,574 strikeouts, and an ERA of 3.26.
  • Liked to face: Eddie Mathews (.053 in 19 AB); Earl Williams (.071 in 28 AB); Manny Trillo (.089 in 45 AB)
  • Hated to face: Rudy Law (.483 in 29 AB); Rance Mulliniks (.441 in 34 AB); Ralph Garr (.426 in 61 AB)



  1. I've got a really cool Don Sutton story. When he was with the A's in 1985, I got his autograph on a baseball. Not long after, I was on vacation and drove to Anaheim to see the A's play the Angels. I got there hours early, and on the freeway before I got there, I was driving next to a black Mercedes. I was wearing my A's hat, and the guy driving it happened to glance over at me. I immediately recognized him, and gave him the thumbs up. He responded with a hand gesture. Then I remembered I had the ball with me and I held it up and pointed to his autograph, then to him. He gave an enthusiastic thumbs up and we kept driving.