posted on Jan, 13 2006 @ 01:48 AM
Unlike many members who aren't ancient (
), I remember Sutter throughout his career. And when he first came up, and sprang that "split-fingered
fastball" on hitters, they were lost and had to hope he either (1) hung it or (2) walked them. It really was that hard to hit.
I am squarely in agreement with Bill James about how comically overrated Rollie Fingers and many other relievers are, how uniquely unqualified for
the Hall Fingers is, and how his primary attribute was that he had exceptionally good taste in teammates. Not so with Sutter; at least, not until
1982, and he was a HUGE part of that team's great season.
Other teams hated it. No, it wasn't like facing Ryan, Gibson, Clemens or, to go way back in time, the greatest of them all, Lefty Grove--who had
Gibson's atttude, but about 5 times as much talent. Sutter didn't terrify hitters. He just made them look ridiculous and like poster material... and
he did so for a long time.
Trust me, you younger ones. This guy was every bit as good as what you have heard about him.
Not at the end, but for the many years it took
him to get there.