Upon the news that a second Dodgers Hall of Famer had died this month, lots of folks remembered Don Sutton for both his 23-year playing career and three decades as a broadcaster, the bulk of the latter for the Braves.
“There are Hall of Famers immortalized for their prodigious slugging and for the lightning in their arms, and there are plenty celebrated for their popularity, but perhaps none are more relatable to fans than Sutton: He showed up for work, and he did his job well,” wrote Bill Shaikin at the Los Angeles Times.
Jon Weisman at Dodger Thoughts posted his chapter on Sutton from Brothers in Arms: “On the mound, Sutton mixed his offerings like a master bartender.”
Jim Alexander at the Orange County Register on Sutton: “Not many others could come up with gems like, ‘Comparing me to Koufax is like comparing Earl Scheib to Michelangelo.’ Or my particular favorite: ‘I’m the most loyal player money can buy.’”
Richard Sandomir in his New York Times obituary of Sutton quoted Tommy Lasorda: “When you gave him the ball, you knew one thing. Your pitcher was going to give you everything he had.”
Sutton’s occasional Braves broadcasting partner Chip Caray told Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Don was, shall we say, very strong in his opinions. He never backed down from what he thought was the right way things should be done in the game. He certainly was a man who stood on his principles. In analyzing pitching, there have been very, very few people that have ever done it better than he did.”
Here’s a Sutton video from MLB Network:
MLB Network remembers Hall of Famer Don Sutton. pic.twitter.com/CaJuMIA5mq— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) January 19, 2021
Juan Toribio wrote about Sutton for MLB.com.
Craig Muder profiled Sutton for the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Beth Harris wrote the Associated Press obituary for Sutton.
Sutton was sometimes dubbed “Little D,” a play of Don Drysdale’s nickname “Big D.” In a 1986 story at Sports Illustrated after Sutton’s 300th win, Bruce Anderson wrote: “‘If I had to have someone make a general statement about my playing,’ Sutton said, ‘it would be that I hardly ever missed a turn.’ The Little D obviously stands for dependability.”
Seven years ago, I watched an old episode of This Week in Baseball, which featured Don Sutton getting ejected from a 1977 start at Wrigley Field for scuffing the ball.
Andy McCullough at The Athletic: “Sutton exemplified an ethos that has lost value in the modern game: He took the baseball every time his turn in the rotation came up.”
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred in a statement called Sutton “a model of durability on the mound. He also helped bring baseball into the homes of millions of fans as a Braves broadcaster. Throughout his career, Don represented our game with great class, and many will remember his excitement during his trips to Cooperstown.”
I tweeted out some pictures of 23 years worth of Topps baseball cards for Sutton, covering 1966-88. Drew Davis on Twitter presented several of those same cards, and more, in a much more visually appealing manor: