Friday, February 16, 2024

RIP - Don Gullett

Don Gullett, a starting pitcher for the Reds in the 1970s, passed away on February 14, 2024 at age 73.
Gullett was drafted by the Reds in the 1st round in 1969. After spending that season in low-A ball, he jumped all the way to the big club in April 1970, and appeared in 44 games (all but 2 in relief). 
He was a key member of the Big Red Machine's starting rotation from 1971-76, winning 15 or more games in 4 of those 6 seasons. His only losing season was 1972, when he posted a 9-10 record while battling hepatitis. 
Gullett surrendered Willie Mays' 660th and final home run. (He also surrendered Hank Aaron's 660th homer.) 
He became a free agent after the 1976 season, and signed with the Yankees. In 1977 he posted a 14-4 record, leading the AL in winning percentage. 
After just 8 games in 1978, a torn rotator cuff ended his career. He managed to avoid the sore-arm curse that afflicted several Reds' hurlers in the 1970s (like Gary Nolan and Wayne Simpson), only to be injured while a Yankee. 
Gullett appeared in 4 World Series with the Reds ('70, '72, '75, '76) and one with the Yankees ('77). He was 4-5 with 60 strikeouts in the post-season. 
After his playing career, he owned a tobacco farm in Kentucky. He had heart attacks in 1986 and 1990, yet returned to the Reds as their pitching coach from 1993-2005.  

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