Don SuttonDonald Howard Sutton
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1998
Primary team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Primary position: Pitcher
“My mother used to worry about my imaginary friends ‘cause I would be out in the yard playing ball,” Don Sutton said in his induction speech in 1998. “She worried because she didn’t know a Mickey, or a Whitey, or a Yogi, or a Moose, or an Elston, but I played with them every day.”
Not only would Sutton get to join his childhood “friends” in the major leagues, Sutton rose to their status in his 23-year career, doubtlessly becoming a player in many children’s fantasy backyard games. Sutton went 324-256 and struck out 3,574 batters. His winning percentage is 10th best all-time and he has the seventh most strikeouts. He also ranks in the top-10 in many categories, such as shutouts and games started.
Sutton began his career as a member of the Dodgers’ rotation with fellow Hall of Famers Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. Sutton helped the Dodgers to five NL pennants, finally winning a World Series in 1988, his last season.
While Sutton never turned in a spectacular season and never won a Cy Young award, he was the picture of consistency. He won at least 11 games and had 100 strikeouts in 21 seasons. His best season came in 1972 when he went 19-9 and threw nine shutouts. He led the NL with a 0.913 WHIP and made his first All-Star game.
That season was the beginning of a strong five-year stretch for Sutton. He won 93 games and had a 2.73 ERA. Sutton earned Cy Young votes in all five years, but never finished above third place.
Later in his career, Sutton left the Dodgers and pitched for the Astros, Brewers, Athletics and Angels. He won his 300th game June 18th, 1986 pitching for the Angels. He threw a complete game allowing one run on three hits to defeat the Rangers 3-1.
Sutton was known for his durability, rarely missing his turn in the rotation. He credited his work ethic to watching his father, who was a sharecropper in Florida. Sutton said he never saw his father take a day off work, so he didn’t want to either.
"Other kids my age were playing for fun,” Sutton told Sports Illustrated in 1982. “I was playing to get to the big leagues.”
Year Inducted: 1998
Primary Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Position Played: Pitcher
Birth place: Clio, Alabama
Birth year: 1945
Los Angeles Dodgers (1966-1980)
Houston Astros (1981-1982)
Milwaukee Brewers (1982-1984)
Oakland Athletics (1985-1985)
LA/California Angels (1985-1987)
Los Angeles Dodgers (1988)
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