CHICAGO – Major League Baseball and its fans are mourning the death of one of the greatest relief pitches in the history of the game who enjoyed a great run in Chicago.
Bruce Sutter, who pitched for the Cubs for five seasons, had died at the age of 69. The announcement was made by the St. Louis Cardinals, one of three teams he pitched with during his 12 MLB seasons.
On Friday morning, the Cubs also had this tribute to Sutter on social media.
A native of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Sutter made his debut for the Cubs in 1976 and would become a dominant closer in the team’s bullpen. In those five seasons, he saved 133 games in 300 appearances for the club with a 2.39 ERA from 1976-1980 while being named an All-Star four times.
Sutter also had the distinction of picking up back-to-back wins in the All-Star Game in 1978 & 1979 while also saving the 1980 game while with the Cubs.
In 1979, Sutter was named the National League’s Cy Young Award winner as he had MLB-high 37 saves along with a 2.22 ERA in 62 appearances.
After the 1980 season, the closer was traded to the Cardinals in a deal that included Leon Durham, who would start at first base during the Cubs’ 1984 NL East Division championship season. Just as he had in Chicago, Sutter was once again a great closer in St. Louis, saving 127 games in 249 appearances for the club from 1981-1984.
He would record the final out of the 1982 World Series as the Cardinals defeated the Brewers in Game 7 at Busch Stadium.
For fans of the Cubs, his most memorable moment in a Cardinals’ uniform came in a moment that Sutter would rather forget. That was on June 23, 1984, when Ryne Sandberg hit game-tying homers off the closer in the ninth and tenth innings in a game the Cubs would go on to win 11-10.
“The Sandberg Game” is one of the most celebrated regular season wins in team history and catapulted the club to an NL East title while the Cubs’ second baseman would go on to win the NL MVP.
Sutter would then join the Braves for the 1985 and 1986 seasons as shoulder problems began to creep in. He would undergo a few procedures and would miss the entire 1987 season before returning to make 38 appearances for Atlanta in 1988, with his career ending after that season.
In 2006, Sutter was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and is also a member of the Cubs’ Hall of Fame as well.