Last week I featured some new favorite pickups in Mark Grace. Up until those came back, these Rick Sutcliffe cards were probably the highlight of my hiatus.
Most baseball fans probably know his basic story. Rookie of the Year in 1979, starting a run of four straight winners for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Traded to Cleveland following the 1981 season. Was an All-Star in 1983 but struggled early in 1984 going 4-5 with a 5.15 ERA. After a change of scenery to Chicago, Sutcliffe went an amazing 16-1 to finish the 1984 season and win the Cy Young Award.
He was an All-Star twice more in Chicago, once in 1987 and again in 1989 but arm problems limited him to just 25 appearances combined in 1990 and 1991. So by the time this 1991 Topps Desert Shield card had come out his days in Chicago were numbered. He signed with the Baltimore Orioles for the 1992 season and actually tied for the league lead in games started but also led the league in earned runs, a far cry from the 1982 season where he led the American League in ERA.
Glossing over the end of his career in St. Louis, Sutcliffe garnered 9 Hall of Fame votes in 2000, his first year of eligibility which was good for 1.8%. Even with the Cubs fan bias, I know that he was probably only a Hall of Pretty Gooder at best.
I love adding any former Cub to my ATCRCS collection but there's a special joy in adding one of the Boys of Zimmer. Sutcliffe has gone on to have some success in the broadcast booth, first with the Padres before moving on to ESPN. These cards were signed with a little a little help from a SCN member in LA sometime during this past postseason when Sutcliffe worked a Dodgers game. While I have a few more Red Baron items I'd love to get autographed, with these two out of the way, I can rest easy.