Sutton remembers 1982 playoff run
Hall of Famer enjoyed reaching postseason with Milwaukee
Don Sutton was acquired by the Brewers in late August of 1982 for the team's stretch run toward the playoffs and the American League pennant. He posted a 4-1 record with a 3.29 ERA and captured a win in the team's 163rd game of the season to push Milwaukee into playoff fever, but where is he now?After his 23-year playing career was over, Sutton made a successful transition to the broadcast booth. He worked as the color analyst for Turner Sports' coverage of the Atlanta Braves for 18 seasons, spanning from 1989 to 2006. In early 2007, Sutton made the move from Atlanta to the nation's capital to take over as the color analyst for the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network's coverage of the Washington Nationals. When Sutton started his broadcast career with Turner Sports, the Braves were one of the worst teams in baseball, and when he ended it, they had just come off a stretch of 14 straight NL East titles. While he's not suggesting the Nats will roll off more than a decade worth of division crowns, he does see similarities from his time in Atlanta. "I think there are a lot of similar circumstances -- the franchise in a rebuilding mode and people at the top who want to do it right, and a manager that is easy to get excited about," Sutton said when he took the job. "I told one of my friends in Washington the other day, 'I've seen this movie played somewhere else, and it has a happy ending.'"
ARI: Travis Lee | ATL: Mark Lemke
BAL: Chris Hoiles | BOS: Bill Lee
CHC: Randy Hundley | CIN: Eric Davis
CWS: Dan Pasqua | CLE: Dave Burba
COL: Curtis Leskanic | DET: Steve Sparks
FLA: Charlie Hough | HOU: Doug Drabek
KC: Mike Macfarlane | LAA: Rick Reichardt
LAD: Jim Gott | MIL: Don Sutton
MIN: Kevin Tapani | NYM: Ed Kranepool
NYY: Jim Abbott | OAK: Ben Grieve
PHI: Tommy Greene | PIT: Barry Jones
STL: B. Tewksbury | SD: C. Hernandez
SF: Brian Johnson | SEA: Henry Cotto
TB: Doug Creek | TEX: Dave Hostetler
TOR: Alex Gonzalez | WAS: W. Fryman
Sutton, 63, returned in 2008 for his second season with MASN and recently made a trip to Milwaukee when the Nationals were in town for a four-game series. The Brewers' trade for ace lefty CC Sabathia has a lot of fans seeing parallels to Sutton's acquisition by the team in '82.Fans and reporters in Milwaukee knew that a trade for Sabathia -- the best arm available on the trade market and the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner -- was possible but was also the type of trade the small-market Brewers couldn't afford to make every year. Brewers Hall of Famer Paul Molitor had similar feelings when he learned of the Sutton trade via the County Stadium scoreboard in late August of 1982. He talked about it for a story in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel marking the 20th anniversary of the '82 team. "No question that with [Sutton's] track record and experience in postseason, he was a huge addition," Molitor said. "I remember being literally shocked when we traded for him. Up to that point, we hadn't been a team that had acquired players. "He was a huge name, and we just thought this was going to be the greatest thing." Sutton did make a world of difference for the club, as he went 4-1 in September and beat the Orioles' Jim Palmer in the Brewers' 163rd game of the season to secure the AL East title. He allowed just two runs in eight strong innings as Milwaukee took the game by a score of 10-2. "I think that game may sum up my personality," Sutton told Baseball Digest last year. "I would have felt it if I had not had the opportunity to have the ball that day. Harvey Kuenn [the Brewers' manager] said to me before that game, 'I can't think of anybody I'd rather have out there today.' And that's the greatest compliment you can give. "Playing with that Milwaukee Brewers team in 1982 was the favorite six weeks of my career."
Dave Fultz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.