Bruce Sutter made 661 appearances in his Major League career and every one of them was as a reliever. Coming up with the Chicago Cubs in 1976, by the following year he was their full time closer. He would spend the next nine seasons as one of the most dominating firemen in the game, leading the league in saves five times. He won the Cy Young in 1979 and finished 7th in MVP voting, only one of five times his annual performance was so dominant that he figured in the top ten in the race for both awards. At the end of the 1980 season he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, where his success continued through 1984 when he once again led the league in saves. After signing on with the Atlanta Braves in 1985, rotator cuff injuries plagued his final years and forced him to retire at age 35. This, along with his exclusivity as a reliever, led him to some of the lowest lifetime statistical totals of any member of the Hall, but it is difficult to argue that from the mid-1970’s to the mid-1980’s, Sutter was the man you wanted on the mound for the final inning.
April 21, 2012