Hall of Fame pitcher Bruce Sutter dies

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Hall of Fame pitcher Bruce Sutter dies
Bruce Sutter arriving at National Baseball Hall of Fame
Bruce Sutter arriving at National Baseball Hall of Fame
Reuters
Hall of Fame reliever Bruce Sutter, considered the pioneer of the split-fingered fastball, has died at the age of 69.

The St. Louis Cardinals, one of the right-hander's former teams, announced his passing on social media on Friday morning. The Cardinals did not reveal a cause of death.

A six-time All-Star and 1979 National League Cy Young Award winner, Sutter was the first player never to have started a game to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006. His No. 42 is retired by St. Louis, where he pitched from 1981-84 and won a World Series in 1982.

"I am deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Bruce Sutter, whose career was an incredible baseball success story," MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. "Bruce ascended from being a nondrafted free agent to the heights of baseball by pioneering the split-fingered fastball. That pitch not only led him to the major leagues, but also made him a Cy Young Award winner with the Cubs and a World Series champion with the 1982 Cardinals.

"Bruce was the first pitcher to reach the Hall of Fame without starting a game, and he was one of the key figures who foreshadowed how the use of relievers would evolve.

"Bruce will be remembered as one of the best pitchers in the histories of two of our most historic franchises. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my condolences to Bruce's family, his friends and his fans in Chicago, St. Louis, Atlanta and throughout our game."

Sutter debuted with the Cubs in 1976 and posted a 32-20 record with 133 saves and a 2.39 ERA in 300 games while pitching for Chicago.

He totaled 37 saves and a 2.22 ERA during his NL Cy Young Award-winning season in 1979. He was only the third reliever to win the award, following Mike Marshall of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1974 and Sparky Lyle of the New York Yankees in 1977.

St. Louis acquired Sutter from Chicago on Dec. 9, 1980 in exchange for first baseman Leon Durham, third baseman Ken Reitz and minor league third baseman Ty Waller.

"On behalf of the Cardinals organization and baseball fans everywhere, I would like to express our deepest condolences to the Sutter family," Cardinals principal owner and CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. said. "Bruce was a fan-favorite during his years in St. Louis and in the years to follow, and he will always be remembered for his 1982 World Series clinching save and signature split-fingered pitch. He was a true pioneer in the game, changing the role of the late inning reliever."

Sutter finished his career with the Atlanta Braves. He posted a 68-71 record with a 2.83 ERA and 300 saves in 661 career relief appearances with the Cubs, Cardinals and Braves.