January 09, 2006

#42 Bruce Sutter HOF Lock!: The Man Who Changed The Face of Baseball

Bruce Sutter, an undrafted free agent, made his major league debut May 9th, 1976 with the Chicago Cubs. Born in Lancaster, PA on 01/08/1953 he was 23 years old when he first stepped on to a Major League Mound. At the end of his remarkable 12 year career and 3 National League Teams later (Cubs, Cardinals, Braves) Baseball was never the same. Sept. 9th, 1988 Bruce threw his last split-fingered fastball while playing for the Atlanta Braves. In 12 seasons he had pitched in 1,042.1 innings recording 300 Saves and a lifetime ERA of 2.83. He spent the years 1976-1980 as a Cub. 1981-1984 in a Cardinals Uniform, he wore #40 in 1985-86 for Atlanta, Shoulder Surgery forced him to miss most of 1986 and all of 1987. The Braves gave him back #42 in 1988 and fighting Bells Palsey mid-season 1988 he recorded his 300th save, a National League Record. But the stats don't really tell his true legacy. Sure he became the 1st Reliever to win the Cy Young Award in 1979 and in his sophmore year for the Cubs he recorded a miniscue 1.35 ERA. Named NL Rolaids Relief Pitcher 4 times, more than any other NL Reliever. (only Dan Quisenberry of the AL with 5 has more). This 4 Time All-Star won 2 a saved 2 All Star Games 78-81. But really the stats aren't the story. Arm surgery in 1973 nearly ended his career but with the help of Cub pitching coach Mike Roarke he invented and perfected the split-fingered fastball. The pitch that revolutionized Baseball! This pitch, that drops like a rock as it approached the plate has confounded batters ever since. Before Sutter if you were a power reliever you had to have smoking stuff, he added the element of disguise to the fastball and amazing movement. Now your considered much more valuable to a ML bullpen if you've got movement on your fastball. That's the change that revolutionized the game. That's what scoutings all about now. Hey, if you bring a 100mph to the plate and it doesn't move (Kyle Farnsworth) your going to be asked to take a seat for a closer that can bring it with some movement. Now we have cutters, hard sliders split-fingered fastballs, thats the way it's played now. I'm going out on a limb right now Jan 9th to tell you, tomorrow, Jan 10th 2006, #42 Bruce Sutter is going to take his place in the Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame. He changed the game. He was unhittable, one of the games "Immortals" One of the few who's ever recorded a perfect inning as a reliever 9 pitches, 9 strikes, inning over. It's only been done more than once by 3 men all HOFers. (Nolan Ryan, Sandy Kofax, Lefty Grove) I posted a FPP last week asking our members who they felt was going to make it to the HOF off of this years Writers Ballots. If you didn't have #42 Bruce Sutter on your Ballot you're wrong. Sutter is a Stone Cold Lock! He may be the only player chosen at all this year but he will be in the HOF this time tomorrow.

posted by skydivedad to commentary at 03:19 PM - 0 comments

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