A little over a month later, I was again in the stands for a historic match-up between two 300-game winners with Sutton and the Boston’s Tom Seaver on July 28. This was only the second time in baseball history that two 300-game winners were matched up against each other. A few weeks earlier, Sutton had beaten another 300-game winner Phil Niekro, who was pitching for the Cleveland Indians.
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This match-up was special as it also was a playoff preview for the 1986 ALCS, with the Red Sox and the Angels leading their respective divisions. I remembered it was musical hat giveaway day, as if you didn’t need another incentive to attend, you got a cool Angels hat that played Take Me Out to the Ball Game if you pressed the bill of the cap.
My grandfather and I got general admission of $3 tickets, which got us in almost dead-centerfield in the upper level. Not the best seat, but still a spot for an amazing game. 61,559 fans were there for this one, and it had a playoff atmosphere.
Don Sutton pitched in some of the most memorable games in the history of Angels baseball.
While Sutton was not as dominant on this day as he had been the night he won No. 300, he still pitched well, shutting out Boston for six innings before turning the game over to the bullpen. Seaver was strong as well, allowing only two runs in six innings coming on a Bobby Grich two-run shot in the fourth inning.
When the dust had settled, Sutton had again come out on top in a battle of 300-game winners, and the Angels would go on to win the AL West. Sutton went 15-11 that season with a 3.74 ERA.
Sutton would pitch well in the ALCS that year for the Angels, starting one game and pitching in relief in another for nine total innings, allowing only two runs.
The right-hander would pitch one more season with the Halos in 1987, going 11-11 with a 4.70 ERA before heading back to his original team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he recorded three wins in 16 starts with a 3.92 ERA.
Sutton retired after that season, pitching for 23 seasons in the big leagues, recording 324 wins with 256 losses and an ERA of 3.26. He posted 3,574 strikeouts and had a 1.124 WHIP.