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This Puzzling Thought Had Me Awake All Last Night. PLEASE HELP !
Posted: 04 March 2009 04:31 PM   [ Ignore ]

Call me way late to the discussion, but I was reading a list of all time save leaders yesterday and asked myself “why was Bruce Sutter so easily elected to the Hall of Fame”?  Especially with the fact that there are no less than 18 other pitchers who have more career saves than he, and only 3 are in the Hall:


Why Sutter? 300 all time saves. Why is he in the Hall of Fame?  Lee Smith and John Franco (more saves) will not get in.

Someone help me understand this.  God Bless.

Posted: 04 March 2009 05:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]

He got a lot of additional “juice” for being considered the first modern “pure” closer and for popularizing the splitter.  Writers seem to like peak for closers more than careers as well.


“A critic who refuses to attack what is bad is not
a whole-hearted supporter of what is good.”

-Robert Schumann

Posted: 05 June 2010 07:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]

At his peak he was durn near unhittable. People and writers also tend to remember that. I have no idea how long his peak value was but if you saw him in that all star game where I think he struck out the side..well it was pretty impressive.

Posted: 09 September 2010 03:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]

The function of a closer was quite different in those days (i.e. the 80s).

Closers used to be workhorses.

In Sutter’s top year for saves (1984 when he saved 45), he appeared in 71 games and pitched 122 innings.
In Mariano Rivera’s top year for saves (2004, 53 saves) he appeared in 74 games and pitched 78 and 2/3 innings.

Sutter in 1984 had six games with 3+ innings pitched, and another 35 games with at least 2.0 IP.
Rivera in 2004 had five games with 2.0 IP (never had more than that).

Rivera faced 10 or more batters on two occasions (11 and 10 were his top two marks) in 2004.
Sutter faced 10 or more batters 13x in 1984 (with top marks of 15 and 14).

The emergence of the middle reliever over the past 15+ years has made it possible to make a career out of pitching one inning at a time every couple of days.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Sutter was better than Rivera or anything like that.  But if Sutter only had to pitch an inning at a time throughout his career, his save numbers would probably be substantially higher.

And Sutter really was tough to hit.  When most of us first heard about a “split fingered fastball” (as they used to call the splitter), it was Sutter who brought that pitch to the game.

Sutter also won a Cy Young award (1979 NL) at a time when relievers didn’t get nearly the respect that they do now.  Only Mike Marshall (1974 NL) and Sparky Lyle (1977 AL) had won the award prior to that as relievers.

Sutter is a worthy HOFer.  But like a lot of great HR hitters of that era, his career totals don’t necessarily look so great compared to today’s top career relievers who, as I mentioned earlier, built a career one inning per game at a time.

Finally, I would not exactly say that Sutter got into the HOF easily.  His first year on the ballot was 1994, and he was under 30% of the vote for the first four years of eligibility.

He was finally elected in his 13th year of eligibility with “only” 76.9% of the vote (75% needed for induction).

Posted: 09 September 2010 03:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]

Now, re: Lee Smith and guys like that… I’m not really sure why the BBWAA hasn’t treated him better in the voting…he’s been in the 40-50% range pretty much all along (47.3% in 2010, his 8th year on the ballot).

I’m not sure if Lee Smith was well-liked (by the writers) or not while he played.  That could affect the voting, although I have no idea whether it actually does.  Some writers won’t vote for someone who they think is a jerk, but I have no idea how they felt about Smith personally.  But in his prime, the dude was a beast.

Smith was a 7x all star (Sutter a 6x AS) and he had 478 saves (3rd all time).  Although Sutter only ranks 21st all time in saves at this time, he ranked much higher at the time he retired.

btw, speaking of all time rankings at the time of one’s retirement, did you know that Jim Bunning ranked 2nd all time in strikeouts at the time he retired in 1971?  He retired with 2,855, which at that time was 2nd behind Walter Johnson’s c. 3,500 total (Johnson’s total depended on what source you used lol).

Posted: 01 February 2013 01:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Seaver #41 ruled! - 09 September 2010 03:06 AM

The Sutter is a worthy HOFer.

I disagree, and I don;t think he’s in the site’s “Hall Of Merit.”