Q&A: Bruce Sutter

July 17, 2006
July 17, 2006

Table of Contents
July 17, 2006

SI Players: Life On and Off the Field
2006 World Cup
  • In a mad, mad final match, Italy rode its stalwart defense to a fourth championship, while the greatest player of his generation left the field in infamy after a shocking moment of mindless rage

Pro Football

Q&A: Bruce Sutter

The 53-year-oldcloser, who retired in 1988 with 300 saves, will be inducted into the Hall ofFame on July 30

This is an article from the July 17, 2006 issue

SI: Did you knowthat you're the first player to sport a full beard on his Hall plaque?

Sutter: I didn'tknow that [laughs]. But there's no real significance other than I don't like toshave.

SI: How shouldrelievers' Hall of Fame credentials be judged?

Sutter: Back inthe 1970s and '80s our job was different from today's relief pitchers. Wepitched more innings and came in more with guys on base. You have to judge meagainst Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, Tug McGraw, Dan Quisenberry and GeneGarber, the guys who pitched in that era. You can't compare us to the guystoday because the role was just different.

SI: Gossage wasthird in this year's voting. Should he be in?

Sutter:Absolutely. If you faced a team that Goose Gossage was on and you were notahead by the seventh inning, you probably would not win that game.

SI: Are thereother relievers who deserve enshrinement?

Sutter: LeeSmith. With 478 saves, the alltime leader, how can he not be in?

SI: Why was yoursplit-fingered fastball so hard to hit?

Sutter: I pitchedwhen the game was on the line, and a hitter might only come up five times allyear with the winning or tying run on base. I preyed on their emotions. Theywould swing at pitches they would not swing at in the second or third inning. Iwas also herky-jerky with my motion, and sometimes you couldn't tell how fastthe ball was coming. It looked like I was throwing it harder than I was.

SI: Many closerstoday enter to music. What played when you came in?

Sutter: Sometimesboos and sometimes "Bruce" [laughs]. And some days they were so closetogether that I couldn't tell the difference. --Richard Deitsch

• For more fromBruce Sutter, go to