15 November 2012

don sutton's double dipping adventure

[this is the forty-fourth installment in the double dippers posts.  here are the previous posts - brett butler, omar daaleric young, nick willhitechris gwynn, mickey hatcherdave anderson, don zimmerrafael landestoy, dave hansen, jose vizcaino, hideo nomo, greg maddux, mike madduxjon garland, chan ho parkvicente romogene mauch, denny lewallyn, von joshua, joe moellerdioner navarro, rudy seanez, bart shirleyrandy wolf, ismael valdes, bobby castillo, mike devereaux, pete richert, jay johnstone, jesse orosco, lee lacy, giovanni carrara, jeff weaverted sizemore,  orel hershisertom goodwinjoe fergusoneddie murraymatt lukeken mcmullen, tim wallach, and jerry grote.]

don sutton left the dodgers for the houston astros after the 1980 season.  he had pitched for the dodgers since 1966, never winning fewer than 11 games.  his 230 wins were the most in franchise history, as were his 2652 strikeouts and 534 games pitched and 517 starts.  he still appeared as a dodger in the three major 1981 releases, like 1981 donruss 
but some of the regional and team issues from that year had him airbrushed into astros' colors.  here's his 1981 topps coke astros card as proof.
sutton pitched well for the astros in 1981, winning 11 games in the strike shortened season, and leading the national league in whip for the second straight year.  he was 13-8 for houston in 1982 when they traded him to the brewers in late august.  acquired for the stretch run, sutton was 4-1 for milwaukee, and helped them reach the american league championship series (and the world series) for the first time in their history.  

sutton pitched well in his lone alcs start, beating the angels in game 3 to kickstart milwaukee's improbable comeback from a 2 games to none deficit and win the series in five games.  in the world series, however, sutton struggled in both his game 3 and game 6 starts, and the brew crew fell to the cardinals in 7 games.

after two more seasons in milwaukee (including 1983 in which sutton logged his 3000th career strikeout), sutton was traded to the a's, as this 1985 o-pee-chee card attests
as was the case with houston in 1982, sutton was 13-8 for the a's when he was traded away to help another team down the stretch.  in this case, he was dealt to the division rival california angels.  he went 2-2 in his five starts for the halos in september, but the angels fell one game short of tying the eventual world champion royals for the al west crown.

sutton was back with california in 1986, when they did make it to the postseason. he also collected his 300th career victory that year with a complete game 3-hitter against the rangers, and donruss made a card to celebrate the occasion.
sutton pitched well in the alcs against boston in 1986 (1 start, 1 relief appearance) but the angels famously fell short of making it to their first world series.  he stayed with the angels in 1987 before returning to the dodgers in 1988.  even though the dodgers released him in august of 1988, score was kind enough to issue a card for the veteran pitcher in 1989
complete with his entire career stats - a true final tribute
you can see that sutton added to his all-time dodger leader stats - wins, games, starts, innings pitched, and strikeouts.  it would have been nice to see sutton celebrating the world series victory in 1988 since he missed out on the 1981 title, but it wasn't meant to be.  it also would have been nice for sutton to have never left the team so that the dodgers could have celebrated a 3000 strikeout and 300 win pitcher of their very own.  oh well, at least sutton has received some attention from topps lately, such as this 2011 topps reprint of his 1977 card.
i would have preferred that they reprint one of his cards on which he is suttoning, however.

i will end this post with a card i recently acquired - a colorful 1988 score don sutton card purportedly signed by the hall of famer himself.
as nice as that is, sutton just doesn't look right in elastic waistband pants.  i'm glad he returned to the dodgers.

here's to you don sutton, dodger double dipper!

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