Today in Tribe History: June 21, 1956
Bob Toth | On 21, Jun 2015
1956 – The “Red Baron”, Rick Sutcliffe, is born in Independence, Missouri.
A first round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1974, he debuted just two seasons later at the end of the 1976 campaign. He would not return to the Majors again until 1978, making two relief appearances, before becoming a regular member of the Dodgers pitching staff in 1979, when he went 17-10 with a 3.46 ERA and won the National League Rookie of the Year award. After working primarily in relief in the next two years, he was dealt to Cleveland on December 9th, 1981 with Jack Perconte for Jack Fimple, Jorge Orta, and Larry White.
With a regular opportunity to start with the Indians, Sutcliffe flourished. He led the American League with a 2.96 ERA and finished fifth in the Cy Young voting with a 14-8 record in 34 games. He was an All-Star in 1983 and finished the year 17-11 with ten complete games. He started poorly in 1984, going 4-5 in 15 starts with a 5.15 ERA, and was dealt to the Chicago Cubs with George Frazier and Ron Hassey for Joe Carter, Mel Hall, Don Schulze, and Darryl Banks.
The NL had no answer for Sutcliffe. In 20 starts for the Cubs, he went 16-1 (.941 winning percentage) with a 2.69 ERA and won the Cy Young Award. They reached the postseason and he was 1-1 in two starts, but they were eliminated by the San Diego Padres.
He would make two more All-Star teams in his career, when he won 18 games in 1987 and behind a 16-11 record in 1989. He became a free agent following the 1991 season and signed with the Baltimore Orioles, where he played two seasons, and pitched for St. Louis in 16 games prior to the strike in his final season in 1994.
Sutcliffe now does television work as a baseball analyst for ESPN and can be found on Twitter at @Sut_ESPN.