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The St. Louis Cardinals announced Friday that former star pitcher Bruce Sutter passed away at the age of 69.
As a pioneer of the split fingered pitch, Sutter helped transform the game and the closer role.
He began his career as a relief pitcher in the era when closers were becoming more common, and led the majors in saves five times out of six seasons between 1979 and 1984, all with the Cardinals.
The 1979 season was one of the best by a reliever in MLB history, as he amassed a 2.29 ERA, 37 saves, and 110 strikeouts in 101 innings. Shockingly for a relief pitcher, Sutter was awarded the Cy Young that year.
He was also named an All Star six times and received MVP votes in multiple seasons, and won the 1982 World Series as a member of the Cardinals.
After that very successful career, Sutter was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2006 after amassing 300 saves and 2.83 career ERA.
MLB.com reported that Commissioner Rob Manfred issued a statement on Sutter’s passing:
“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.”