Relief pitcher Bruce Sutter, whose split-fingered fastball baffled hitters and propelled him to the Baseball Hall of Fame, has died at the age of 69.
Sutter had been diagnosed with cancer and died in hospice with his family present, his son, Chad, said, according to the Associated Press.
“I wouldn’t be here without that pitch,” Sutter said of his unique offering back in 2006, according to the Associated Press. “My other stuff was A ball, Double-A at best. The split-finger made it equal.”
Rest well sir pic.twitter.com/GemvrV3vgn
— OldTimeHardball (@OleTimeHardball) October 14, 2022
Sutter totaled 300 saves in his career, posting a career 2.83 ERA over 12 years. With the Cubs, he won the 1979 Cy Young award after saving 37 games. In 1982, he had 36 saves for the Cardinals, later tying a since-eclipsed record with 45 saves in 1984.
“I am deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Bruce Sutter, whose career was an incredible baseball success story,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “Bruce ascended from being a nondrafted free agent to the heights of baseball by pioneering the split-fingered fastball. The pitch not only led him to the Major Leagues, but also made him a Cy Young Award winner with the Cubs and a World Series Champion with the 1982 Cardinals.”
Almost 40 years ago, on Oct. 20, 1982, Sutter struck out Milwaukee Brewers hitter Gorman Thomas to win the World Series for St. Louis.
— Cardinals Dude (@Turn2Dude) October 14, 2022
“Being a St. Louis Cardinal was an honor he cherished deeply,” Chad Sutter said, according to MLB.com. “To the Cardinals, his teammates and, most importantly, the greatest fans in all of sports, we thank you for all of the love and support over the years. He will be greatly missed, but his legacy will live on through his family and through Cardinal Nation!”
Chad Sutter said his dad loved being part of a team.
“I mean, he won all these awards and all this stuff and they weren’t even hung out in the house because all he cared about was winning and being respected by the other players and being a good teammate. That was his whole motivation,” he said, according to the Associated Press.
“The awards, you know, after he retired, that was kind of the time where he was like, ‘Man, I did OK, you know.’ Being a teammate was what mattered most to him,” he said.
Our thoughts are with the family of 6-time All-Star and Hall of Fame pitcher Bruce Sutter. Sutter was named an All-Star four times with the Cubs in the late 70s and in 1980. He was voted the NL Cy Young winner in 1979. pic.twitter.com/jJfL38hfVy
— CHGO Cubs (@CHGO_Cubs) October 14, 2022
Sutter made that point at his Hall of Fame induction, according to CNN.
“When I played, I never needed the spotlight, nor did I want it,” he said. “I simply wanted to play baseball and be respected by my teammates and the opposing players.
“So today my name (Howard Bruce Sutter) goes on this plaque. This day is not about me. It’s about the many people who have helped me along the way,” he said.
The Cubs mourn the passing of Hall of Fame pitcher Bruce Sutter.
The 1979 NL Cy Young Award winner and a member of the Cubs Hall of Fame, Sutter pitched with Chicago from 1976-80, collecting 133 saves, second-most in franchise history.
Deepest sympathy to the Sutter family. 💙 pic.twitter.com/WHzzNFGzaV
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) October 14, 2022
“All our father ever wanted to be remembered as was being a great teammate, but he was so much more than that,” Sutter’s family said in a statement Friday, according to the AP. “He was also a great husband to our mother for 50 (years), he was a great father and grandfather and he was a great friend. His love and passion for the game of baseball can only be surpassed by his love and passion for his family.”
Chad Sutter said his father “didn’t suffer and he went and went quick and he went peacefully, surrounded by all of his loved ones.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.