Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What's Eating Don Gullett?

Get it?  I was going to say “worrying,” or “bothering,” or something like that.  But I just couldn’t pass it up. Get it? Eating? Gullet?

Forgive me.  

Whatever it was, it was a problem even back then. Yup, this is Don’s first card.  

1971. Pretty good rookie season. Don went 5-2, with a 2.43 ERA.

Gullett was a huge high school star, by the way. He actually started pitching for the high school team in eighth grade. He also once pitched a perfect game, striking out 20 of 21 batters. Don was also a football star, scoring 72 points once in a single game. The Reds picked him in the first round, number 14 overall.

It’s okay, Don. Really.

1972.  You’d never know it from this shot, but Don had a great sophomore year. He went 16-6 (for a league-leading .727 winning percentage), and with a 2.65 ERA.

Here, have some Tums.

1974. Another great record, at 18-8. 

Or maybe a lil’ Xanax.

1976. Another incredible winning percentage (15-4, .789), though somehow or other, Al Hrabosky beat him out to lead the league (13-3, .813).

So, what happened to Don’s signature?  It’s not that he’s no longer “Donald Edward” so much, but that it looks like it was done by a completely different person.  Funny.  His expression’s the same though.

1975.  17-11, 3.04 ERA, and 183 strikeouts (a personal best for that last one).

Hmm, moving to the Yankees didn’t help, did it?  But, then again, I would think that would simply make any problem you’re dealing with even worse.  Good to see Don’s totally “normal” in that way.

1977. Don went 11-3 with a 3.00 ERA before heading over to the Bronx. With the Yankees, he went 18-6 over two year, leading the league in his first year in – you guessed it – winning percentage (14-4, .778).

Unfortunately, Don also blew his arm out with the Yankees.  (And, yes, Billy “Burnout” Martin was his manager.)  Poor Don was all washed up at age 27.

Overall, Gullett was up for nine years, finishing with a 109-50 record (.686) and a 3.11 ERA. BTW, that winning percentage is seventh all time (and fourth for players in the modern era). Don was also in an amazing six World Series (four times as champ) in those short nine years. 

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