SAINT-LOUIS – Former star reliever Bruce Sutter, a Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and 1979 Cy Young Trophy winner, has died. He was 69 years old.
Sutter was recently diagnosed with cancer and died Thursday in hospice surrounded by his family, Chad, one of Sutter’s three sons, told The Associated Press.
According to Major League Baseball Hall of Fame officials, Sutter died in Cartersville, Georgia.
“All our father wanted was to be remembered as a great teammate, but he was so much more than that,” Sutter family members said in a statement released Friday.
“He was also a wonderful husband to our mother of 50 (years), he was a wonderful father and grandfather and he was a wonderful friend. His love and passion for baseball can only be surpassed by his love and passion for his family. »
Sutter, a right-handed pitcher, is considered one of the first gunners to use a slingshot.
He played 12 seasons in the major leagues, was named to the All-Star Game six times and had 300 career wins.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said he was “deeply saddened” by the news.
“Bruce was the first pitcher to be inducted into the Hall of Fame without starting a game, and he was one of the key figures that heralded the evolution of the use of catchers,” Manfred said in a statement.
“Bruce will be remembered as one of the greatest pitchers in the history of two of our most historic franchises,” he added.
Sutter made his major league debut with the Chicago Cubs in 1976. In 1979, he won the National League Cy Young Trophy after a season that included 37 saves, a 2.22 ERA and 110 strikeouts.
He joined St. Louis Cardinals, an organization he played for from 1981 to 1984. In 1982, he helped lead the Cardinals to the World Series and finished Game 7 against the Milwaukee Brewers with one out on three hits.
“Being Cardinal of St. Louis is an honor he deeply valued,” the family said in a statement.
Sutter recorded his 300th and final career save with the Atlanta Braves in 1988. He was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.
“Bruce was a fan favorite during his years in St. Louis and beyond, and will always be remembered for his game-winning save in the 1982 World Series and his trademark slingshot,” the owner and Cardinals CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. said in a statement.
“He was a true pioneer in the sport by changing the role of the late game specialist. »
Sutter was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in January 1953. In a statement, Major League Baseball Hall of Fame officials noted that Sutter learned to slingshot from a minor league instructor in the Cubs organization while recovering from right elbow surgery.
“I feel like one of my brothers passed away,” said former Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Kaat.
“I knew Bruce more deeply than probably any other teammate. We spent a lot of time together and as it happens when your career comes to an end, you each go your own way. But we stayed in touch and considered each other great friends. »