Did Cardinal Mike Ramsey Know The Secret Of Don Sutton’s Mound Magic? One HR Says Yes

Posted July 10th, 2011 by Tom Owens and filed in Don Sutton, Mike Ramsey, St. Louis Cardinals
“SS-2B”? The card should
have read: Comfortable
at everything but
P and C

I loved the look of Mike Ramsey. Like a super-hero, he’d appear anywhere he was needed. In the midst of that super-subbing, he had a few moments in the spotlight.

Take June 3, 1980 versus the Mets — three singles and a double, with three runs scored. He recalled:

“The best part of the 4-hit night was that it helped a Cardinal victory. It also solidified my spot on the team and was part of a modest hit streak I was on.”

Ramsey humbled a future Hall of Famer July 25, 1982. In front of a home crowd, Ramsey’s three-run homer made the difference in a 4-3 win against Don Sutton. (Thanks for the flashback, http://www.retrosheet.org/!) I asked for HR details, and insight into whether Sutton threw illegal pitches. Years earlier, Lew Burdette told me that just the thought of being a spitballer was enough to conquer some hitters. Ramsey added:

“The pitch: a 3-1 fastball inside. We knew he did something to baseballs, but it wasn’t saliva, but rather he scuffed them with something. Still, he was a great pitcher without the extra help.”

I asked this super-sub and ultimate team player if he ever faced the prospect of pitching or catching in a pinch.

“Only 7 positions would I have been comfortable playing. I was never asked to catch and that would have been most difficult for me.”

I don’t believe it. Clark Kent, not Superman, answered that question. I think that if Whitey Herzog called today, you’d see the wild-haired utilityman behind the plate or on the mound.

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