Thursday, November 19, 2009

Little D

It occurred to me that I haven't featured a Dodger yet on my "Best of the '70s" posts. That's a major oversight on my part. (And, no, this doesn't count). I should have featured a Dodger first.

So, after determining the best '70s card of Johnny Bench, Reggie Jackson and Manny Sanguillen, it's time to do the same for a Dodger.

He's not the first guy I think of when I think of the 1970s and the Dodgers. I think of Ron Cey first. Most other fans probably think of Steve Garvey. After that it's Lopes and Russell and Buckner.

But Don Sutton was there before all of them. And he lasted with the Dodgers through the whole decade. He is the link between the great Dodger teams of the 1960s and the great Dodger teams of the '70s. In fact, in 1966 -- Sutton's rookie year -- Don Drysdale was called "Big D," and Sutton was called "Little D." Later, Sutton's nickname was "Black and Decker," for his alleged doctoring of baseballs.

Sutton is the last player to come up with the Dodgers to be elected to the Hall of Fame (in 1998). And even though he also played for the Astros, Brewers, A's and Angels, and broadcasts for the Braves, he'll always be a Dodger to me.

So, it's time to vote for the best '70s card of Sutton. The poll is up on the sidebar. Yes, that means I have two polls going at the same time again. But that's OK. My New Year's resolution for 2010 is going to be no more polls for six months. Really. That's it. I'm perfect in every other way.

(*Ahem*) On with the cards:

1970: This might be my favorite. I got it at a card show not long ago. But the best part might be on the back.

A baseball card cartoon that features the punch line in the word bubble! I don't think I've seen that before.

1971: So many 1970s cards show players posing in front of what appear to be high school fields. Were facilities that bad then?

1972: Extra credit for wearing a blue glove.

1973: OK, this is my favorite. First, the palm trees make for a great scenic background. Second, Sutton is pictured throwing a pitch, but the ball is in his glove! Third, we learn on the back that Sutton was a DJ in the offseason.

1974: Sutton appears to be providing some words of wisdom while he rubs up the baseball.

1975: Again, a very high school-looking scoreboard in the background.

1976: Ah, the transformation. Sutton goes with the white man's Afro look, which he has basically kept ever since.

1977: There's another cheap-looking scoreboard. I don't think it's the same one, though.

1978: Even with the All-Star shield, which is and always will be spectacular, I never liked this card. Sutton looks like Big Bird. Not good.

1979: This pose comes up over and over for Sutton in his early 1980s cards. I like the ballplayers gathering in the background.

Sutton doesn't get enough credit for what he did during his career. Even when he was elected to the Hall of Fame people squawked about it. But he was the first great pitcher that I knew, and that's why we've just got to figure out his best card of the '70s. It's imperative.


  1. great player, great announcer. I wish he was still on the tv broadcasts with Joe Simpson

  2. So, what year was the '75's picture taken?

  3. Sutton is actually smiling in the 1979 picture, which is a rarity. I think I'll vote for that one.

  4. btw, the 1973 Sutton also matches the silhouette avatar in the corner, too. Or vise-versa.

  5. Is it just me, or does it look like Manny Ramirez, circa 2009, in the background on the 1970 card?

    Word verification: folly (honestly!)

  6. It looks like it was taken a lot earlier than 1974, zman. I'd have to guess it was taken during spring training in '72.

  7. Blue Glove. That has my vote.

    When did colored gloves start to appear?

  8. Dude, that is so non-PC. These days we call them African American gloves.

  9. Long live the polls! I hope you decide to break your resolution.

  10. Better late than never! I'm going with 1970 because that was a year of greatness. Not just because I was born then, but I love the cartoon on the back.