Today's Dodgers All-Star memory takes us back to Yankee Stadium in 1977. The Dodgers would end their year at this stadium, felled by the Yankees and three home runs by Reggie Jackson in Game 6 of the World Series. But on July 19, the Dodgers sent four players to the All-Star Game in New York: reserve Reggie Smith, and starters Steve Garvey, Ron Cey... and Don Sutton.
Sutton was 32 in 1977, his 12th season with the Dodgers. He was a lock for 200 innings every season, and would go on to set Dodgers franchise records for career wins, games, starts, innings, and strikeouts (and hits and home runs, too). From 1972 to 1976, Sutton finished in the top five in the Cy Young balloting each season, including a fourth place finish in 1974 when the Dodgers had three of the top four (Mike Marshall won, Andy Messersmith was second, Sutton fourth).
The Dodgers got off to a hot start in 1977, and were 59-33 at the break with a nine and a half game lead over the two-time defending champion Big Red Machine. Sutton was 10-4 with a 2.58 ERA, and was named an All-Star for the fourth, and final, time of his career. This time, he was chosen to start the game.
Before Sutton even stepped on the mound, he was staked to a 4-0 lead as the National League jumped on American League starter Jim Palmer for four runs in the first, the final two coming on a two-run home run by Greg Luzinski of the Phillies. This was back in the days when starting pitchers were expected to go three innings, which is just what Sutton did. Sutton retired nine of the 11 batters he faced, striking out four. He didn't allow a run, but then again, Sutton never allowed a run in the All-Star Game.
Sutton pitched a total of eight innings in his four All-Star Games, allowing just five hits and a walk, and no runs, while striking out seven. Of all the pitchers with a 0.00 ERA in All-Star Game history, Sutton is tied with Mariano Rivera for the third-most innings, with eight. Only Mel Harder (13 innings) and Johnny Vander Meer (8 2/3 innings) have thrown more scorless innings than Sutton.
Sutton took home MVP honors for his efforts in the 1977 All-Star Game, one of five times a Dodger has won the midsummer classic honors.