Thursday, September 4, 2014

#274 Rick Sutcliffe

About the Front: The Red Baron! Last month, the Orioles and Cubs wore 1994 throwbacks (there's a phrase that makes chills run down my spine) in a Sunday afternoon contest at Wrigley Field. Those black-lettered road unis have really grown on me, although I'm still glad the O's put "Baltimore" back on their grays a few years ago. Also, don't miss Rick Sutcliffe's shadow cast across the mound.

About the Back: And those would be the last two shutouts of Sut's long and fruitful career.

Triple Play:

1. Rick was the 1979 National League Rookie of the Year, easily outpacing Jeffrey Leonard. He won the 1984 National League Cy Young Award despite not arriving in Chicago until mid-June; he allowed seven fewer runs with the Cubs than he did with the Indians, despite pitching 56 more innings after the trade than he had in Cleveland. That's a good way to help yourself to a 16-1 record! At least the Tribe got Mel Hall and Joe Carter out of the deal.

2. Barry Bonds was homerless in his 51 plate appearances against Sutcliffe, with a batting line of .239/.280/.326 and just two RBI. That's the most times Bonds faced any pitcher without taking him deep.

3. He has spent his post-retirement days as a TV analyst for ESPN and the Padres. In 2006, he famously dropped into the Padres' TV booth after an evening of conviviality with Bill Murray and had a brief but entertaining dialogue with Matt Vasgersian and Mark Grant about golf, San Diego, and George Clooney.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: Sutcliffe may have been a steadying veteran presence for the Orioles in 1992, when he won Comeback Player of the Year honors, but I tuned in to the O's a year later, when he was a lead weight in the rotation.

Bill James Said: "His batting average allowed, .314, was also the highest in the majors, and his slugging percentage also, .496, and his on-base average allowed (.385)." That's an .881 OPS, which equals Cubs rookie slugger Javier Baez's career minor league mark.

On This Day in 1993: September 4. Herve Villechaize, the 3'11" French actor best known as "Tattoo" from Fantasy Island, fatally shoots himself at his North Hollywood home. In a suicide note, he cites depression stemming from years of poor health.

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