Cardinals' 5 all-time best relief pitchers in franchise history
1. Bruce Sutter
Over the years, Bruce Sutter was among the most popular people at Busch Stadium, affectionally known as "Bruuuuuuce!" The 1982 season solidified his legendary status with the franchise.
He was 9-8 that season with a 2.90 ERA, earning 36 saves over 102.1 innings. He struck out 61 batters. Sutter earned the save in the pennant-clinching NLCS victory. The Cardinals went on to win the 1982 World Series. Sutter is credited with two saves in that Series, including the series-clinching save in Game 7. He sealed the Cardinals' victory with a strikeout of Gorman Thomas.
Sutter recorded a 9–10 record in 1983 with a 4.23 ERA. Sutter's save total dropped to 21. Sutter executed an unassisted pickoff play that summer. Bill Madlock of the Pirates took a long lead off first base when he became distracted by Cardinals first baseman Keither Hernandez. Sutter dashed off the mound to tag Madlock out.
Sutter won the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award and The Sporting News Reliever of the Year Award again in 1981, 1982, and 1984.
While with the Cardinals, he earned a 26-30 record with a 2.72 ERA. He threw in 396.2 innings, striking out 259 batters. He was an All-Star in 1981 and 1984. He led the National League in saves in 1981, 82, and 84,
Sutter was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006. The Cardinals retired his number 42 that summer. Sutter was part of the first class inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2014.
Sutter passed away due to complications from cancer in October 2022. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said of Sutter upon his passing, "Bruce Sutter was the first pitcher to reach the Hall of Fame without starting a game, and he was one of the key figures who foreshadowed how the use of relievers would evolve. Bruce will be remembered as one of the best pitchers in the histories of two of our most historic franchises."
Sutter started his career with the Cubs and ended it with the Braves.
Sutter was a legendary Cardinal and an outstanding person. He was a favorite to see in his red jacket during special events at Busch Stadium, including the Home Opener. He is, without question, the franchise's number-one relief pitcher.