After being a consistant ace for the Los Angeles Dodgers since 1966….Sutton became a free agent after the 1980 season….for during his time in Los Angeles….he set a team record for career wins….when he joined the Houston Astros in 1981…..and after the baseball strike interrupted the season….Sutton returned with seven wins and one loss against his former Dodger team….as he left the game with a patellar fracture….which ended his season just as the Astros were about to clinch a berth in the NL postseason.
Late in the 1982 season….the Astros sent Sutton to the Milwaukee Brewers for Kevin Bass, Frank DiPino and Mike Madden….of which Astros player Ray Knight was critical of the trade in saying….”My first reaction to this trade is disbelief. I don’t know who are the prospects we are getting, but I would think Don Sutton would bring a big name, a real big name. Here’s a guy who is going to win you 15-20 games every year, and he never misses a start… He should really help the Brewers.”….as Sutton earned a win in a 1982 playoff game against the Angels….then started two games for the Brewers in the 1982 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals….where he pitched 10 innings in the series and gave up nine earned runs and was charged with one loss.
In 1985, Sutton was traded to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for Ray Burris….where he was initially reluctant to report to the team….as he was hoping to play for a team in Southern California so that he could live at home with his family. Sutton ultimately reported to Oakland twelve days late for spring training….saying that he had his family’s approval in the decision….mentioning his win total being just 20 wins shy of 300 career wins as a factor in the decision….then after starting the season with a 13-8 record was traded to the California Angels in September.
Coming into the 1986 season, Sutton had 295 career victories….as he struggled early in the season….but would face the Texas Rangers for a chance to win his 300th career game in June of that year. As seen in this video herewith….he earned the win by pitching a complete game….while striking out Gary Ward for the final out of the game. He appeared in two games in the 1986 playoffs against the Red Sox, earning a 1.86 ERA but registering two no-decisions…..so any way you cut the pie….the 1986 season and especially this game…..sealed Don Sutton’s induction into the Hall of Fame…..which makes this video must see MLB history.