Rick Sutcliffe (ESPN Images)

Rick Sutcliffe

This article was written by Greg King

“A big, hard thrower with a ton of guts, `Sut’ was never mistaken for a wallflower. He had one thing going for him right away too: He wasn’t afraid to challenge hitters and didn’t back away, even if he made a mistake with a pitch. He was a very quick learner.”Rick Monday, Dodgers broadcaster and former teammate1


Rick Sutcliffe (ESPN Images)Over his 18-year big-league career, 6-foot-7 right-hander Rick Sutcliffe pitched for five teams, debuting with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1976 at age 20, and going on to play for the Cleveland Indians, Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles before finishing with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1994 at age 38. A three-time All-Star, Sutcliffe posted a career 171-139 record. On the field, his notable personal achievements included being voted the NL Rookie of the Year in 1979, earning the AL ERA title in 1982, and winning the NL Cy Young Award in 1984. He remained a popular baseball personality long after he retired from the game and became a color analyst in the broadcast booth.

Richard Lee Sutcliffe, Jr., born on June 21, 1956, in Independence, Missouri, was the first of three children born to Dick and Louise Sutcliffe. Rick dreamed of following in his father’s footsteps, a sprint race car driver who went by the moniker “Mr. Entertainment.” Looking back, he recalled, “When I was a little kid, I always wanted to give it a try. I had the mini-bike and the go cart and ran ‘em all over the neighborhood.”2

In his adolescent years, Sutcliffe’s parents were often away on the racing circuit. Rick and his siblings, Terry and Sherri, moved frequently, often switching schools. His parents divorced just as Rick was entering high school. Grandparents William and Alice Yearout took to watching over the three kids, and eventually accepted responsibility for them.3 “They were strict,” Sutcliffe remembered. “They made us study. My high school average was 3.7 out of a possible 4.0. It was a time of drugs and trouble for other kids. They kept us out of it. We were lucky.”4

“Grandpa Bill,” who lived to age 99, loved baseball and bought balls, bats and gloves for his grandchildren, played catch with them, and brought them to see the Kansas City Athletics. The versatile Bert Campaneris became Rick’s favorite player and once his grandfather stood in line with him for an hour at a bank to get his idol’s autograph.

Rick joined a Little League team at age seven and later played American Legion Baseball and in the Babe Ruth League. At Van Horn High School in Independence, the lanky redhead became a standout athlete, earning all-state honors in three sports: basketball, football, and baseball; the school’s lobby still has a trophy case displaying his achievements. In basketball, as a high-scoring center, Rick established several school records and led them to the state finals. In football, he was the starting quarterback. In baseball, in his senior year, Sutcliffe tallied a 20-4 record and hit .650. Rick was just 17 when the Dodgers selected him as their number one pick (21st overall) in the June 1974 Free Agent Draft. Scout Jerry Cunningham signed him with an $80,000 bonus (more than $500,000 in 2024 money).5

Upon graduating high school, Sutcliffe reported to Bellingham (Washington) in the Rookie-level Northwest League. Sutcliffe lost his first three games and nearly quit, even with the knowledge he would forfeit his bonus if he played less than a month. “I called Grandpa and told him I wanted to leave baseball, and he said, ‘Fine, the lawn needs to be mowed and the kennel needs to be cleaned.,”6 said Sutcliffe, who decided to stay put. He won his next 10 decisions, including throwing four one-hitters, two shutouts, leading his club with a 10-3 record and 3.32 ERA and catapulting the team to a league championship.7

The following year Sutcliffe participated in his first spring training camp in Florida. “Right at the very beginning one of the guys standing behind me at Vero Beach in 1975 in spring training was Don Drysdale,” Sutcliffe said. “And he was just the guy who taught me to pitch inside.”8 With Class A Bakersfield (California League) in 1975, Sutcliffe had a 3-1 record and an ERA hovering around 2.00, but finished 8-16.9 He was assigned to the Arizona Instructional League at season’s end.

Sutcliffe advanced to Class AA Eastern League in 1976 and led his Waterbury (Connecticut) team in starts, complete games, wins, and strikeouts, thereby earning a late-season call up to “The Show.” In his mound debut at Dodger Stadium on September 29, the 20-year-old allowed the Houston Astros no runs and two hits over five innings but had no decision in a 1-0 Dodger victory. In the offseason, he pitched for Mazatlán of the Mexican League.10

Despite winning the award as the top rookie at Dodgertown in Vero Beach in 1977, Sutcliffe could not break into the team’s starting rotation.11 Assigned to Triple-A Albuquerque in the Pacific Coast League, he sustained a torn rotator cuff, and in between stints on the disabled list, went 3-10 with a 6.43 ERA. Over the winter Sutcliffe pitched for the Licey Tigers of the Dominican League.12

Rick’s younger brother Terry also excelled in sports at Van Horn High School, and the Dodger pitcher enjoyed returning home during baseball offseasons and watching him compete. At one of Terry’s games, Sutcliffe met a Van Horn cheerleader, Robin Ross, who later became his wife. Terry Sutcliffe went on to have a successful pitching career at the University of Kansas followed by three years in the Dodgers’ minor league organization.13

Before reporting to Vero Beach in February 1978, Rick and Robin married. When camp broke, he again was optioned to Albuquerque, where Sutcliffe started 27 of his 30 appearances and threw 184 innings, compiling a 13-6 record and helping his team claim the PCL co-championship. Sutcliffe earned his second big league call-up in September, pitching 1 2/3 scoreless innings in two relief outings for a team that would go on to win the NL pennant.14

Sutcliffe finally made the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster in 1979. In his first appearance, on April 8, he pitched five scoreless innings in relief against the San Diego Padres – escaping a bases-loaded situation by striking out Dave Winfield – and recorded his first big league win when Davey Lopes hit a walk off home run in the 12th inning.15 He came out of the bullpen eight more times before getting his first start on May 3. Sutcliffe went the distance in beating Steve Carlton and the Phillies, 5-2, at Dodger Stadium and remained in the rotation for the remainder of the season. With a 3.46 ERA in 39 appearances, 30 of which were starts, Sutcliffe topped the staff in wins (17) and innings pitched (242). Sutcliffe, who always batted lefthanded, also showed he could handle himself at the plate. Not only did he homer off Cincinnati’s Tom Seaver on May 25, but in three separate outings in 1979 he collected a pair of hits, batting .247 and driving in 17 runs overall. The 23-year-old established a Los Angeles Dodgers record for most wins by a rookie and was selected NL Rookie of the Year in a landslide vote.16

Sutcliffe got off to a rocky start in 1980, going 0-2 with a lofty 8.33 ERA before he was relegated to the bullpen. Only 10 of his 42 appearances during the season were as a starter; the highlight was a three-hit shutout on June 24, in which he also singled and notched two RBIs in a 3-0 win over Houston. Near season’s end, the Phillies’ Pete Rose confessed to one of Sutcliffe’s Dodger teammates that the tall right-hander had been tipping his pitches the entire season, which Sutcliffe saw as an act of kindness on Rose’s part. After the season concluded Sutcliffe worked with pitching coach Ron Perranoski in the Arizona Instructional League and again with Licey in Santo Domingo.17 

Following Don Sutton’s departure via free agency, a vacancy opened in the Dodgers’ 1981 starting rotation which Sutcliffe hoped to fill. The sudden emergence of 19-year-old Fernando Valenzuela, however, changed the trajectory of Sutcliffe’s chances. After going 2-1 (2.30 ERA) in April, Sutcliffe was summarily dropped from the rotation after he was knocked out of the box early in his first two starts in May. Hampered both by the players’ strike that interrupted the season for two months, and a three-week disabled list stint for a foot injury in early August, Sutcliffe made only 14 appearances and pitched just 47 innings the entire season; after the strike, he pitched only three times, all in relief. The Dodgers went on to win the World Series, but Sutcliffe did not see action during the postseason.

A further complication was the sour relationship that had developed between the right-hander and Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda. With one game left in the 1981 regular schedule, Sutcliffe went to Lasorda’s office and accused him of lying about an earlier promise of a late season spot start. Sutcliffe exploded in an angry outburst “rearranging” Lasorda’s office, clearing his desk of objects. Sutcliffe then angrily snatched a chair and threatened to hurl it against a wall adorned with autographed pictures of Frank Sinatra. He recalled the tense moment: “I am about to throw it, and standing in the door is Dusty Baker, and he grabs the chair and he’s laughing and he says something like, ‘Kid, you’re in enough trouble. You don’t need Frank pissed off too.’ ”18 Sutcliffe went to the clubhouse where he told reporters, “I will never play again for Tommy Lasorda” and demanded a trade. Sutcliffe was subsequently voted a World Series share by his teammates and received a championship ring, but the damage was done.19

The Dodgers traded Sutcliffe and second baseman Jack Perconte to the Cleveland Indians for outfielder Jorge Orta, catcher Jack Fimple, and pitcher Larry White on December 9, 1981. “The headlines in Cleveland said, ‘Indians get Perconte.’ That’s what everybody thought of me,” Sutcliffe said.20 Time would reveal it to be a one-sided trade which did not end in the Dodgers’ favor.

As the 1982 season arrived, Sutcliffe, by now sporting a moustache, was eager for a fresh start in the American League. He gave credit to his new roommate, Cleveland’s future Hall of Fame pitcher Bert Blyleven, for getting him running and into a positive mindset, and to manager Dave Garcia for believing in him. Sutcliffe posted a 14-8 record and captured the league’s ERA title (2.96) on a sub-.500 Cleveland ballclub.21

In 1983, Sutcliffe’s personal highlight occurred not on the diamond but when Robin gave birth to their daughter Shelby in April. Named an All-Star for the first time, Sutcliffe sought out Lasorda at the Midsummer Classic. “I made a point to apologize for the things I said, and he apologized, too. He even gave me a hug,” Sutcliffe said.22 While Sutcliffe forged a team-best 17-11 record that season, Cleveland finished last in the AL East.

Early in the 1984 campaign, Sutcliffe required four straight days of root canal surgery, which left him weakened. Due to become a free agent at season’s end, Sutcliffe was still regaining his strength when, with a 4-5 record in mid-June, he was traded to the Chicago Cubs. The Indians already trailed Detroit by 20 games in the standings while the Cubs, who had finished three games out of last place in the NL East the previous season, looked up and found themselves in narrowly in first place. Two of the Cubs’ frontline starters, Scott Sanderson and Dick Ruthven, were out with injuries, however, and Chicago GM Dallas Green was especially motivated to land the big right-hander Sutcliffe.23

Clearly out of contention, and with the ballclub up for sale, Cleveland decided to move to a more youthful and less expensive roster and looked to boost its offense at the same time. In exchange for trading the higher-salaried Sutcliffe, and two other veteran players, catcher Ron Hassey and reliever George Frazier, the organization received in return a package consisting of 23-year-old Mel Hall, who as a rookie had homered 17 times while batting .283 in 112 games with Chicago the previous season, and three minor leaguers, the most prominent of whom was Joe Carter, American Association Rookie of the Year in 1983, and who, at the time of the trade, was hitting .311 with 14 home runs and 67 RBIs for Triple-A Iowa. Though Carter soon established himself as a standout player with the Indians, and led the AL with 121 RBIs in 1986, it was not until he first left Cleveland, and then San Diego, and then in 1991 joined the Toronto Blue Jays that he emerged into a superstar, being named an All-Star five times between 1991 and 1996 and helping the club to World Series Championships in 1992 and 1993, the second capped by his three-run walk-off home run in the final game.24

Rick Sutcliffe (Trading Card DB)Sutcliffe, now fashioning a reddish beard, impressed in his Cubs debut on June 19 in Pittsburgh, allowing one earned run and pitching into the ninth inning. After celebrating his 28th birthday on June 21, he took the mound in Wrigley Field on June 24, blanking the rival Cardinals and fanning 14. He compiled win after win, going 16-1 with a stingy 2.69 ERA, the lone loss to the Dodgers. Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray began to refer to him as the “Red Baron,” after the gritty World War I flying ace. The nickname stuck.25

Having caught Sutcliffe while a Dodgers teammate five seasons earlier, Cubs bullpen coach Johnny Oates marveled at his transformation, saying, “Back then, he only had three pitches – a fastball, an overhead curve and a straight change. Now he throws a sinking fastball and a cut fastball. He can turn the change over (like a screwball). He can move the ball in and out.”26 The Padres’ Tony Gwynn observed, “Sutcliffe is smart enough not to pitch you the same way twice in one game. You never get the feeling you know what’s coming.”27

Sutcliffe was on the mound on September 24 when Chicago clinched the NL East, allowing just two hits and a run in a dominating 4-1 performance over the Pittsburgh Pirates and sending his team to the post-season for the first time since 1945. In the NLCS opener against the Padres, Sutcliffe gave up two hits and no runs over seven innings and clobbered a mammoth home run, his team winning, 13-0. In the fifth and deciding playoff game, though, he squandered an early three-run lead and was charged with Chicago’s 6-3 loss. Sutcliffe accepted responsibility for the defeat that ended the Cubs’ hope of getting to the fall classic. Though they had fallen short, he later said, “Looking back, that whole season with the Cubs was a dream. I had the time of my life and so did the entire team.”28

Sutcliffe was the unanimous choice for the NL 1984 Cy Young Award, garnering all 24 first-place votes and becoming the first recipient to have pitched in both leagues in the same season. A free agent, he re-signed with Chicago for a five-year, $9.8 million contract, making him the highest paid pitcher in baseball.29

Sutcliffe had a strong empathy for people who faced life challenges. His charity work began with the Dodgers, who paid him to go out into the community, and it continued in Cleveland. With his new Cubs contract, Sutcliffe launched a charity organization, the Sutcliffe Foundation, contributing $100,000 a year of his salary, plus his endorsement revenues and speaking honorariums to help provide food and clothing for the needy. He annually purchased season tickets to be distributed to underprivileged kids, and he provided college scholarships for high school students.30 Though generous with money, he felt it was even more important to give his time. “While I have this uniform on,” he said, “I have the greatest gift to influence people. They look at that uniform, and you’re somebody special.”31

Sutcliffe made it a point to visit hospitals. “If you’ve ever walked into a hospital and seen a kid laying there with leukemia or cystic fibrosis, and then you see the look in the eye when they meet you, you can’t help but be touched,” he said.32 He was the recipient of the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award in 1987 and the Buck O’Neil Legacy Award in 2013 for his unwavering support of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City. “I am a much better person because of getting to know Buck O’Neil,” Sutcliffe said. “Honestly, every time I hear his name, it changes you. … You just want to go and help somebody.”33 That giving spirit continued as his foundation helped workers when restaurants shut down due to the COVID pandemic in 2020.34

In his first full season with Chicago in 1985, Sutcliffe started 5-3, with two shutouts. But a hamstring injury in mid-May forced him to join other Cubs pitchers on the DL.35 The Cubs were 10 games above .500 at the close of May but had losing records in all the remaining months. Sutcliffe appeared in 20 games, pitching 130 innings, and going 8-8 with a 3.18 ERA.

Sutcliffe’s 1986 season was marked by a series of nagging arm injuries, reflected in his disappointing 5-14 record. He rebounded to become the Cubs’ staff ace again in 1987 and was named an All-Star for the second time. For the season he compiled an 18-10 record with a 3.68 ERA, though the team finished last in the NL East. Sutcliffe led the league in wins and placed second in the Cy Young Award voting, receiving only two votes fewer than Phillies reliever Steve Bedrosian. The Sporting News named him the NL Comeback Player of the Year.

The 1988 season proved to be another disappointment for the Cubs, who finished fourth. Sutcliffe, who won 13 games and had a 3.86 ERA, however, forever carried a couple of memories: On July 29, against the Phillies, Sutcliffe was credited with stealing home, a rarity for a pitcher. As Sutcliffe readily admitted, it resulted from a busted-up play. Then on August 8, he was on the mound for the first night game ever scheduled for Wrigley Field, one that a torrential downpour would wash away in the fourth inning. “It was like God was telling us, you might think you’re going to pick the day that you turn on the lights at Wrigley Field, but I’ll let you know,” he later remarked. The historic event was delayed one evening, but, of course, Sutcliffe was not then pitching.36

In June 1989, Sutcliffe signed a two-year, $4.2 million contract extension. Team president Don Grenesko explained, “He’s a role model to the younger players and to the fans. He projects the image we want for the Chicago Cubs.”37 A month later Sutcliffe was named an All-Star for the third time. He finished the regular season 16-11, playing through pain through the second half of the season. The Cubs secured the division title but lost to the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS. Sutcliffe started Game Three at Candlestick Park, pitching six innings with no decision.

Sutcliffe missed significant time because of a shoulder injury and subsequent surgery, working just 59 innings between April 1990 and August 1991. Following a frustrating rehab assignment in Triple-A Iowa, Sutcliffe considered retiring. After pitching coach Billy Connors worked with him, however, Sutcliffe returned to the Cubs’ rotation in the second week of August. He put up good numbers and proved effective in nine starts, going 4-1 with a 2.33 ERA.38

Despite the strong finish, Sutcliffe’s tenure with the Cubs ended after seven and a half seasons when the organization let his contract expire, thus making the veteran pitcher a free agent at the conclusion of the 1991 season. The 35-year-old Sutcliffe surprised many by signing a one-year deal with the Baltimore Orioles. Sutcliffe later said he had no intention of signing with a team that had dropped 95 games the previous season, but felt he owed Johnny Oates, his former teammate, coach, and now Orioles manager, the courtesy of listening to his pitch to join Baltimore. He heard how he could serve as a mentor for young pitchers like Mike Mussina and Ben McDonald, just as he had for Greg Maddux when he had begun his career with the Cubs. But it was when Oates told him he would throw the first official pitch ever at the new Oriole Park at Camden Yards that Sutcliffe said he got “goosebumps.” As he later recalled, “The adrenaline started flowing and that was it. I was sold. How could I say ‘no’ to that?”39

On Opening Day, April 6, 1992, after ardent baseball fan President George H.W. Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch, the Red Baron took the mound. Before a sold-out crowd, Sutcliffe twirled a five-hit 2-0 game against Cleveland, a spectacular catch by outfielder Mike Devereaux helping to keep the opposition from scoring. With the game’s final out, Sutcliffe handed the ball to his manager as a keepsake.40 Columnist Thomas Boswell wrote: “Oriole Park got an Opening Day worthy of any park. Sutcliffe made sure of it. Now, the first chapter in Camden annals will always be pure old-fashioned corny baseball. Spurned veteran, beloved for his bearish courage on the field and his charity off of it, returns.”41 Sutcliffe tallied 16 wins for the 1992 Orioles, totaling 237 innings, and had a major league-high 36 starts, with five complete games. Baltimore remained in the thick of the division race throughout most of the season and finished a respectable 89–73. For the second time, The Sporting News named him Comeback Player of the Year.

Sutcliffe re-signed a one-year contract with Baltimore for 1993 and compiled a 10-10 record. Although Oates urged management to re-sign the veteran for 1994, the manager was overruled. “I told him if I was in a war and had a two-man foxhole, I’d rather have him in there with me than anybody in the game,” Oates told the press.42 The offer never came.

Sutcliffe signed a one-year contract for 1994 with the Cardinals, making 14 starts. In his last big-league appearance, July 22, 1994, at Busch Stadium, he allowed one run and three hits in five and two-thirds innings in a win over the Atlanta Braves, to run his record to 6-4. Fittingly, Sutcliffe doubled in his last plate appearance. Less than three weeks later, MLB players went on strike and the season went kaput. Frustrated by the long strike, Sutcliffe officially retired in April 1995.

On days he wasn’t pitching, the fierce competitor had a reputation for being fun to be around, possessing a good-natured personality with an easy laugh and a propensity for gab. From his playing days to the present, Sutcliffe collected friends from a wide cast of entertainers and athletes, including actors Mark Harmon and Bill Murray, musicians Bruce Springsteen and Eddie Vedder, and basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, among many others.43

Drysdale, who became a baseball broadcaster after his playing days, had been the first one to suggest that Sutcliffe would one day find success in the TV booth. Harry Caray echoed the sentiment. But Sutcliffe initially felt no such compulsion to venture into the media. In 1996, the San Diego Padres offered him the pitching coach job with their Idaho Falls affiliate in the Pioneer League, a position he enjoyed and held for two seasons. In August 1996, Sutcliffe was invited to join Padres broadcaster Bob Chandler for the first regular season MLB game in Mexico, which featured Sutcliffe’s former teammate Valenzuela on the mound. That led to Sutcliffe’s employment as a color analyst for about 40 local Padres TV broadcasts a season, an arrangement that lasted through 2004. That exposure, along with serving as a guest analyst for ESPN Radio’s coverage of the 1998 postseason – working alongside Ernie Harwell – acted as a springboard for Sutcliffe to become an in-studio analyst for the network’s Baseball Tonight television program and subsequently as a color commentator for its MLB telecasts.44

Before the 2008 baseball season got underway, Sutcliffe was diagnosed with colon cancer during a routine checkup. He underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments simultaneously, followed up by surgery. Sutcliffe was given a clean bill to return to the ESPN booth and remained a popular analyst with the network through the 2020 season.45

As of 2024, Sutcliffe was in his fourth season an in-studio analyst, interviewer, and commentator for the Marquee Sports Network, the Cubs’ regional cable TV channel, owned in part by the team. He often served as a guest instructor for Cubs’ spring training camps in Mesa, Arizona. When he was not working, Sutcliffe enjoyed sharing the good life in Cardiff, California, near San Diego, with his friends and family, including wife Robin, daughter Shelby, son-in-law Hunter, and his two young grandchildren.

When the coronavirus pandemic required sportscasters to call games remotely during the 2020 season, shots of Sutcliffe’s broadcasting ESPN games from his home allowed viewers to see on a shelf behind him artifacts representing three baseball figures he said on air inspired him: a framed Campy Campaneris A’s uniform jersey from the season he played all nine positions, a Kansas City Monarchs baseball cap for Buck O’Neil, and a Vin Scully bobblehead.46

Last revised: May 14, 2024



This biography was reviewed by Malcolm Allen and David Bilmes and fact-checked by Ray Danner, to each of whom the author expresses his thanks.



In addition to sources cited in the Notes, the author consulted Baseball-Reference.com, Ancestry.com, and the SABR BioProject.



1 Rick Monday and Ken Gurnick, Rick Monday’s Tales from the Dodgers Dugout (Champaign, IL: Sports Publishing L.L.C., 2006), 48.

2 Gordon Verrell, “Dodgers High on Sutcliffe – Born to Speed,” The Sporting News, March 26, 1977, 25.

3 Bill Reiter, “Rick Sutcliffe: A Winner on and Off the Mound,” Baseball Digest, August 2008, 59.

4 Hal Lebovitz, “The Imp Behind the Moustache?” Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 30, 1982, 2-B.

5 Brad Balukjian, The Wax Pack (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2020), 222;, Richard L. Sutcliffe, April 25, 1977; Los Angeles Dodgers 1977 Media Guide, 54; The Sporting News, 1985 Official Baseball Register, 479; In his response to the questionnaire sent by William J. Weiss, dated June 29, 1975, Sutcliffe listed his greatest thrill, “Winning National Championship in Babe Ruth, Semi-Finals in State High School Baseball.” In his response to a second Weiss survey on April 25, 1977, Rick noted “National Babe Ruth Champs 1974, 3rd in ’73 All-Tournament Right Handed Pitcher.”

6 Bill Althaus, “Sutcliffe Honors his 99-Year-Old `Foundation,’” Kewanee (Illinois) Star Courier, January 8, 2010 (article in Rick Sutcliffe biography file, Baseball Hall of Fame Library).

7 Los Angeles Dodgers 1977 Media Guide, 54; The Sporting News, 1985 Official Baseball Register, 479.

8 Rick Sutcliffe, ESPN Wednesday Night Baseball Broadcast, Dodgers vs. Astros, July 29, 2020.

9 Mike McKenzie, “Award-winning Attitude Sets Sutcliffe Apart,” Kansas City Times, October 24, 1984. E-1.

10 Gordon Verrell, “Dodgers High on Sutcliffe – Born to Speed,” The Sporting News, March 26, 1977, 25

11 The big club’s roster of front line of starters included Don Sutton, Tommy John, Burt Hooton, Doug Rau, and Rick Rhoden.

12 Los Angeles Dodgers 1979 Media Press Guide, 47. Rick Sutcliffe on Major League Beginnings, podcast dated September 23, 2020, at https://bleav.com/shows/major-league-beginnings/episodes/rick-sutcliffe-heard-vin-scully-from-the-mound-how-he-wound-up-with-nike-sneakers-and-untold-hilarities/ (accessed March 23, 2024)

13 Richard Rosenblatt, “Detroit Chooses Michigan’s Leach, One of 3 Wolves Selected in Round,” Muncie Star Press, June 6, 1979, 15. While in college, Terry Sutcliffe was selected by the New York Mets in the June 1976 Free Agent Draft but did not sign; he was selected by the Dodgers in the 1979 Free Agent Draft. The Sporting News Player Contract Card for Terry Sutcliffe indicates he played three seasons of Single A ball, spending time with both Lodi (California League) and Vero Beach (Florida State League). He went 11-7 in 1980, with a 3.72 ERA and tossing five complete games. Sutcliffe was released by the Dodgers on September 30, 1981. Also see entry for Terry Sutcliffe at www.thebaseballcube.com.

14 Los Angeles Dodgers 1979 Media Press Guide, 47.

15 “Rick’s First Victory,” Los Angeles Dodgers Scorecard Magazine, 1979, 55.

16 Joseph Durso, “Dodgers’ Sutcliffe is League’s Top Rookie,” New York Times, November 29, 1979; n.p., article in the Rick Sutcliffe file, Baseball Hall of Fame Library; Los Angeles Dodgers 1981 Media Press Guide, 54. Sutcliffe became the first of four consecutive Dodgers to receive the honor; he was followed by Steve Howe, Fernando Valenzuela, and Steve Sax from 1980 through 1982.

17 Reiter, Baseball Digest, August 2008, p. 62; Gordon Verrell, “Sutcliffe Warns N.L. Hitters,” The Sporting News, January 17, 1981 (article in Rick Sutcliffe biography file, Baseball Hall of Fame Library); Los Angeles Dodgers 1981 Media Press Guide, 54.

18 Balukjian, The Wax Pack, 224.

19 Jason Turbow, They Bled Blue: The 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co., 2019), 173; Peter Golenbock, Wrigleyville: A Magical History Tour of the Chicago Cubs. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1999), 475.

20 McKenzie, Kansas City Times, October 24, 1984, E-1.

21 “ESPN’s Rick Sutcliffe Talks Pranks, Playoffs and More with Dan Patrick,” The Dan Patrick Show for October 3, 2018. YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDKzpZdNNUY (accessed March 23, 2024).

22 Ross Newhan, “Sutcliffe Patches Up Differences,” Los Angeles Times, March 19, 1984, n.p., article in Rick Sutcliffe biography file, Baseball Hall of Fame Library.

23 Thomas Boswell, “The Rejuvenation of Rick Sutcliffe,” Washington Post article reprinted in San Francisco Chronicle, August 17, 1984, C8; Barry Axelrod, “Sutcliffe’s Agent Diary Shows How Decision was Made,” Kansas City Star, December 26, 1984, 1C.; The Sporting News, Official Baseball Register, 1985, 479.

24 Fred Mitchell, “Cubs Trade Hill to Indians,” Chicago Tribune, June 14, 1984, 4-1. Steve Daley, “Give Green Credit, He’s Thinking Flag,” Chicago Tribune, June 14, 1984, 4-1; The other two minor-leaguers sent to Cleveland were pitchers Don Schulze and Darryl Banks.

25 Golenbock, Wrigleyville, 480; Official Chicago Cubs 1985 Yearbook, n.p.; “Andrew Belleson Catches Up with Former Cubs Pitcher Rick Sutcliffe,” March 11, 2019, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ML3NXzjQsLE

(accessed March 23, 2024).

26 Ray Didinger, “Rick Sutcliffe: He Gave Cubs a Shot in the Arm!” Baseball Digest, November 1984, 29.

27 Klapisch, “Sutcliffe Cops Cy Young Award,” New York Post, October 24, 1984, 72

28 Rich Cohen, The Chicago Cubs: A Story of a Curse (New York: Farrar, Status and Giroux, 2017), 153; George Vass, “The Game I’ll Never Forget: Rick Sutcliffe.” Baseball Digest, April 1992, 87.

29 Klapisch, New York Post, October 24, 1984, 72. Sutcliffe became the third Cubs pitcher to win the prestigious award, joining Ferguson Jenkins (1971) and Bruce Sutter (1977). Fred Mitchell, “Sutcliffe: Man with a Golden Arm,” Chicago Tribune, December 15, 1984, C-1; Axelrod, Kansas City Star, December 26, 1984, 1C.

30 Ron Beaton, “Rick Sutcliffe – Cubs Pitcher with a Purpose,” USA Today, November 10, 1987, C3.

31 Ray Sons, “Sutcliffe’s Pay Earns Goodwill,” Chicago Sun-Times, May 13, 1986, n.p., article in Rick Sutcliffe biography file, Baseball Hall of Fame Library.

32 Bill Glauber, “Sutcliffe Brings Orioles a Touch of Glitter,” Baltimore Sun, May 5, 1992, 1A.

33 David Boyce, “Former Pitcher Rick Sutcliffe, KU Hospital Executive Honored with Buck O’Neil Legacy Awards.” Kansas City Star, November 19, 2013 (article in Rick Sutcliffe biography file, Baseball Hall of Fame Library).

34 Rick Sutcliffe on Major League Beginnings, podcast dated September 23, 2020, at https://bleav.com/shows/major-league-beginnings/episodes/rick-sutcliffe-heard-vin-scully-from-the-mound-how-he-wound-up-with-nike-sneakers-and-untold-hilarities/ (accessed March 23, 2024).

35 Dave van Dyck, “Sutcliffe Vows to Pitch with Pain.” The Sporting News, August 5, 1985 (article in Rick Sutcliffe biography file, Baseball Hall of Fame Library).

36 David Just, “This Day in Chicago Baseball History: Sutcliffe Steals Home, Sox Trade for Sosa,” Chicago Sun-Times, July 29, 2015; ESPN 30 for 30 Podcast: “The Lights of Wrigleyville,” Transcript, 2017.

37 Joe Goddard, “Sutcliffe Heeds Wish of his Grandfather,” The Sporting News, June 19, 1989, 32.

38 Hal Bodley, “Sutcliffe Weathers Crisis-Filled Winter,” USA Today, March 11, 1992, 5C; Peter Schmuck, “Something to Prove,” The Sporting News, May 18, 1992, 7.

39 Barry Rozner, “The Game I’ll Never Forget: Rick Sutcliffe,” Baseball Digest, May 2017, 50.

40 Peter Richmond, Ballpark: Camden Yards and the Building of an American Dream. (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993), 264; 267.

41 Thomas Boswell, “Big Man, Big Heart, Big Start.” Washington Post, April 7, 1992, C1. Sutcliffe was among those former Orioles present for the celebration of 30th anniversary of Camden Yards on August 6, 2022. Baltimore Sun, August 8, 2022, D2.

42 Jim Henneman, “Sutcliffe Shuns O’s for Cards.” Baltimore Sun, February 1, 1994, 2C.

43 Lebovitz, Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 30, 1982, 2-B; Glauber, Baltimore Sun, May 5, 1992, 1A.

44 Rick Sutcliffe on Major League Beginnings, podcast dated September 23, 2020, at https://bleav.com/shows/major-league-beginnings/episodes/rick-sutcliffe; John Maffei, “Sutcliffe Has the First Word as Play-By-Play Announcer,” San Diego Union-Tribune, March 19, 2004, n.p., article in Rick Sutcliffe biography file, Baseball Hall of Fame Library; Tom Krasovic, “Sutcliffe Signs for 2 More Years,” San Diego Union-Tribune, May 15, 2004 (article in Rick Sutcliffe biography file, Baseball Hall of Fame Library); Jay Posner, “Sutcliffe Departs Padres TV Team,” San Diego Union-Tribune, February 1, 2005, n.p., article in Rick Sutcliffe biography file, Baseball Hall of Fame Library; ESPN Press Release, “ESPN Reveals MLB Commentator Teams,” January 28, 2011; Phil Rosenthal, “Rick Sutcliffe Gets Contract Extension from ESPN,” Chicago Tribune, December 5, 2018, n.p., article in Rick Sutcliffe biography file, Baseball Hall of Fame Library.

45 Barry Rozner, “A Central Theme: Cubs Will Be Fine; Thoughts Go Out to Sutcliffe.” Arlington Heights Daily Herald, March 14, 2008, 2-6; Reiter, Baseball Digest, August 2008, p. 65.

46 Sutcliffe, ESPN Wednesday Night Baseball Broadcast, Dodgers vs. Athletics, July 22, 2020.

Full Name

Richard Lee Sutcliffe


June 21, 1956 at Independence, MO (USA)

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