Sutton Makes Another Pitch for Hall of Fame

From Associated Press

Long after his 324th and last victory, Don Sutton is looking for one more win.

Sutton hopes it comes today when the Hall of Fame election results are announced. But the former Dodger pitcher is not planning a party for the early evening.

“I don’t have any champagne ready,” he said. “I am disappointed not to already be there, and I’m not expecting it this year.”

Tony Perez, Jim Rice and Ron Santo, along with first-year candidates Gary Carter, Bert Blyleven and Jack Clark, lead the list of former players on the ballot.


Sutton is hoping to duplicate the feat of Phil Niekro, elected last January on his fifth try.

The longtime Atlanta knuckleballer was 318-274 with a 3.35 earned-run average and 3,342 strikeouts. Sutton was 324-256 with a 3.26 ERA and 3,574 strikeouts.

“I do believe I’ve earned it,” Sutton said recently.

This is Sutton’s fifth time on the ballot--he came within nine votes of making it last year--and it might be his best chance for a while.

Next year, a dazzling crop of candidates will be eligible for the first time. Nolan Ryan, George Brett and Robin Yount appear shoo-ins, and Carlton Fisk and Dale Murphy also figure to get consideration.

Sutton’s supporters say he was an excellent pitcher for a prolonged period. His critics claim his 23 seasons just make him a testament to longevity.

Sutton never won a Cy Young Award and had only one 20-win season in a career that ended in 1988. A four-time all-star, he made it to the postseason with the Dodgers, Angels, Milwaukee and Houston.


There are 26 players on the ballot, nine of them for the first time. Ten-year members of the Baseball Writers Assn. of America do the voting.

Bruce Sutter (300 saves), Dwight Evans (385 homers, eight Gold Gloves), Tommy John (288 wins), Dave Parker (1,493 runs batted in) and Steve Garvey (a 10-time all-star) are among the other carryover candidates.