“Today we lost a great ballplayer, a great broadcaster and, most importantly a great person,” said Dodger President Stan Kasten. “Don left an indelible mark on the Dodger franchise during his 16 seasons in Los Angeles and many of his records continue to stand to this day. I was privileged to have worked with Don in both Atlanta and Washington, and will always cherish our time spent together. On behalf of the Dodger organization, we send our condolences to the entire Sutton Family, including Don’s wife Mary, his son Daron and his daughters Staci and Jacquie.”
Sutton, who hailed from Clio, AL, was a pitching workhorse in the Major Leagues in a career that spanned 23 years, 16 of which with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Sutton was enshrined into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1998, and the Dodgers retired his number “20” in a ceremony on Aug. 14, 1998.
Following his illustrious pitching career, Sutton started his broadcasting career in 1987 working the League Championship Series for NBC before splitting his time in 1989 between the Dodgers Z Channel and the Atlanta Braves. He then spent 18 years with the Braves calling the action on TBS. Sutton spent two years with the Washington Nationals in 2007-08 and returned to the Braves in 2009, where he has been ever since. Sutton was elected to the Braves Hall of Fame in 2015 for his broadcast work.
Sutton made it to the big leagues in Los Angeles on April 14, 1966 at the age of 21, beginning a great and long career. He signed with the Dodgers in 1965 and pitched one year in the Texas League, where he was named Texas League Player of the Year. In 1966, he joined a rotation of Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Claude Osteen. He struck out 209 batters in his rookie season, the most by a National League Rookie since Grover Cleveland Alexander’s 227 in 1911.
Sutton’s career with the Dodgers spanned 1966-80 and he returned in 1988. During this time, he ranks as the franchise’s all-time leader in wins (233), innings pitched (3,816.1) strikeouts (2,696) and shutouts (52).
Sutton was a four-time All-Star, pitching in three World Series (1974, 1977 and 1978). He led the league in shutouts (9) in 1972, was the NL ERA leader (2.21) in 1980 and a 21-game winner in 1976.
His 23-year career that also saw him pitch for the Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland A’s and Angels, saw him finish with a 324-256 win-loss total, a 3.26 ERA in 774 games with 178 complete games, 58 shutouts and five saves. He struck out 3,574 batters in 5,282.1 career innings.
Sutton was 4-1 with a 2.02 ERA in seven League Championship Games and was 2-3 in eight World Series games. In the 1974 post-season, he was 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA and 25 strikeouts in four games.
Sutton is survived by his wife, Mary, son Daron and his daughters Staci and Jacquie.
(Juan Dorado furnished the information provided in this story)