Beginning in 1969, the Los Angeles Dodgers finished the season over .500 for 10 consecutive seasons before a disappointing 79-83 record in 1979.
Along with their sub-.500 record, the Dodgers’ streak of two straight National League West titles also came to an end. While the season wasn’t what the Dodgers had hoped for, it wound up being a memorable one for Rick Sutcliffe.
The right-hander appeared in 39 games (30 starts) and finished 17-10 with a 3.46 ERA. Sutcliffe was named Rookie of the Year in what marked the start of a Dodger winning the award in four straight years.
Sutcliffe began the season as a reliever and made eight appearances before his first start on April 29. In the outing, he went 5.2 innings and allowed two runs in a loss. Sutcliffe responded by winning four of his next five starts, including a complete game and an eight-inning effort.
It was the first of three stretches in which the right-hander managed to win four of five starts, as he did so again in August and September. Sutcliffe finished the year with five complete games and 117 strikeouts in 242 innings pitched.
Sutcliffe remained with the Dodgers through the 1981 season before moving on to Cleveland, where he won a Cy Young Award in 1984. He also spent time with the Chicago Cubs, Baltimore Orioles and St. Louis Cardinals before retiring in 1994.
With 171 career wins under his belt, Sutcliffe has become an ESPN analyst since retiring and spoke favorably of Clayton Kershaw when compared to Adam Wainwright back in July.