In 2022, the National Baseball Hall of Fame lost four members who played a notable role in the history of the game.
2022 was another turbulent year much like 2021, and that extends to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. During these times, the game of baseball served as a positive distraction, with one of the most memorable seasons in history. Along the way however, the game lost a handful of greats, including four members of the Hall of Fame. Each of these Halls of Famers have a special place in baseball history. Two of them had an impact on the mound as pitchers while the other two had an impact from the spectator point of view as a writer and broadcaster. Here are the four Hall of Famers who died in 2022.
Bruce Sutter (RHP)
(January 8, 1953-October 13, 2022)
A big-time bullpen boss, no pitcher commanded the split finger fastball quite like Sutter. Sutter spent the first four years of his career with the Chicago Cubs. There, he pioneered a fastball that displayed a punishing sinking motion towards the hitters. In 1979, he saved 37 games and became only the third reliever to win the Cy Young Award. He is one of nine players to achieve that feat today. Sutter led the league in saves in his final season with the Cubs. The following season he got traded to the St. Louis Cardinals.
His success carried over to St. Louis. Sutter came up big for the Cardinals in their 1982 World Series run. He pitched in four of the seven Fall Classic games and brought home a win and two saves. One of the saves came in game seven, where he retired the last six batters in the final two innings of the series to secure the championship. That season, Sutter recorded a career-high 45 saves. This was a National League record at the time.
He finished his career with 300 saves, a 2.83 ERA, and an above average ERA+ in all but four seasons. He led the league in saves five different seasons. In 2006, he became the first pitcher voted into the Hall who had never started a game, according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Gaylord Perry (RHP)
(September 15, 1938-December 1, 2022)
Going the distance, racking up innings, and spitballs. No one in baseball history is better defined by these three terms together than Perry. His career stretched 21 seasons between 1962-1983. He pitched till the age of 44.
Perry was known for putting spit on the baseball, which he talked about in his autobiography titled “Me and the Spitter: An Autobiographical Confession.” He claimed however that he rarely used it, but just having hitters suspect he may use it put them at a disadvantage.
Despite any controversy, Perry enjoyed a successful career in which he pitched a total of 5350 innings (sixth all time) for the San Francisco Giants, Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals. Perry earned himself a spot in the two clubs that all pitchers strive for, the 300 win and 3000 strikeout clubs. He finished his career with 314 wins and 3534 strikeouts (eighth all time).
A historic moment came in 1978 with the Padres. That season, he went 21-6 with a 2.73 ERA to win the Cy Young for the second time in his career. He became the first player to win it in both leagues. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991.
Roger Angell (Writer)
(September 19, 1920-May 20, 2022)
Few have witnessed a greater timeline of the national pastime than Angell. He wrote about baseball for over half a century. A lifelong fan, he wrote 11 different baseball books throughout his career. A good deal of his time was spent as a sports columnist for The New Yorker. Many of his baseball pieces offered a fresh, poetic fan perspective on the game and its players.
Carrying on a family legacy of successful writers, Angell became the New Yorker’s fiction editor in 1956. Over the years, he found ways to integrate his passion for baseball into his voice. Some of his most notable works included “Gone For Good”, which tells the story of pitcher Steve Blass and his diminishing pitching ability, and “The Summer Game.” The latter explored baseball’s influence on the psyche of fans and players over the years.
In 2014, Angell received the Hall of Fame’s Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) Career Excellence Award. This is given out to one baseball writer each year. Angell defied the expectations of the award as he became the first winner that was not a member of the BBWAA. This showed that top coverage of the game can go beyond an everyday beat.
Vin Scully (Broadcaster)
(November 29, 1927-August 2, 2022)
“It’s time for Dodger baseball.” This was the signature opening call that fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the game of baseball heard for 67 years from one man, Scully.
At just the age of 22, Scully joined broadcasting pioneer Red Barber in the Brooklyn Dodgers radio booth. From there he would go on to become the longest tenured broadcaster for one team in professional sports history. In addition to his work with the Dodgers, he did pro football and golf broadcasts for CBS and some national baseball broadcasts on NBC.
Scully was there for several of the game’s most memorable moments. From calls such as Don Larsen’s World Series perfect game in 1956 to the Bill Buckner call in the 1986 World Series, fans will continue to hear that voice for generations of highlights.
Scully became the sixth recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award in 1982, an award given annually by the Hall to one broadcaster for their contributions to the game. But the work did not stop there, as he continued to broadcast till the age of 88.
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