Howard Bruce Sutter (/ˈsuːtər/; born January 8, 1953) is a former Major League Baseball right-handed relief pitcher. He was arguably the first pitcher to make effective use of the split-finger fastball. One of the sport's dominant relievers in the late 1970s and early 1980s, he became the only pitcher to lead the National League in saves five times (1979–1982, 1984). In 1979, Sutter won the NL's Cy Young Award as the league's top pitcher.
Born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Sutter briefly attended Old Dominion University and was subsequently signed by the Chicago Cubs as an undrafted free agent in 1971. Between 1976 and 1988, he played for the Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves. In 1984, Sutter signed a contract with Atlanta that would pay him $4.8 million over six years and place another $4.8 million into a deferred payment account. The press estimated that with interest the account would pay Sutter $1.3 million per year for 30 years. In the mid-1980s, Sutter began to experience shoulder problems, undergoing three surgeries and retiring in 1989.
Sutter was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 2006, his 13th year of eligibility. He was the fourth relief pitcher to be inducted. He was also selected to the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2014. He was hired by the Philadelphia Phillies as a minor league consultant.
By Dean Hanley
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