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don sutton

Don Sutton looks, at first blush, like a no-doubt Baseball Hall of Famer. He won 324 games, struck out 3574 batters, and compiled 58 shutouts in his career. He never missed a start and, had the 1981 player’s strike not happened, would have pitched over 200 innings in 21 consecutive seasons. He NEVER missed a start. He struck out 207 batters as a rookie in 1966, and was a model of consistency that the Baseball Writers Association of America elected to the Hall of Fame in 1998 with 82 percent of the vote.

So why the controversy?

He was very, very good for a very long time, but rarely considered the best pitcher in baseball. He was an all star four times, and in the top five of the Cy Young Award voting five times, but never the winner or runner-up. He pitched in the Era of the Pitcher, also known as the “Second Dead Ball Era,” so while the numbers he posted seem outstanding, he was only 120th all time in Baseball-Reference Wins Above Replacement. He was very good. Was he good enough for the Hall? Listen to find out.

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