Don Gullett
Don Gullett.jpg
Pitcher
Born: (1951-01-06) January 6, 1951 (age 71)
Lynn, Kentucky
Batted: Right
Threw: Left
MLB debut
April 10, 1970, for the Cincinnati Reds
Last MLB appearance
July 9, 1978, for the New York Yankees
MLB statistics
Win–loss record109–50
Earned run average3.11
Strikeouts921
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Donald Edward Gullett (born January 6, 1951) is an American former professional baseball player and coach. He played in Major League Baseball as a left-handed pitcher from 1970 through 1978, most notably as a member of the Cincinnati Reds dynasty that won four National League pennants and two World Series championships between 1970 and 1976. Gullett was also a member of the New York Yankees teams that won two consecutive World Series championships in 1977 and 1978. After his playing career, he served as pitching coach for the Cincinnati Reds from 1993 to 2005. In 2002, he was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.[1]

High school

Gullett was born in Lynn, Kentucky and attended McKell High School in South Shore, Kentucky, where he was an outstanding three-sports athlete in baseball, football, and basketball. He began to pitch while in eighth grade.[2] As a high school pitcher, he once tossed a perfect game—including striking out 20 of the 21 hitters he faced. Gullett excelled as a high school football player as well once scoring 72 points in a single game. He ran for 11 touchdowns and kicked 6 extra points. He was named all-state in three sports his senior year (baseball, football, basketball). Gullett's legacy is remembered in a monument on the courthouse lawn in Greenup County, Kentucky that declares that "This is Don Gullett Country."[3]

Professional career

The Reds selected Gullett in the first round of the 1969 Major League Baseball draft.[4] He pitched for the Sioux Falls Packers of the Northern League that season. In 1970, Gullett was so impressive in spring training, despite his inexperience, he made the big league roster of a team that would go on to win the NL Pennant. Pitching in relief of starter Ray Washburn, Gullett debuted on April 10, 1970, on the road against the San Francisco Giants. Gullett had an outstanding rookie season, appearing in 44 games (42 in relief) posting a 5-2 record and a 2.43 earned run average. In the 1970 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles, Gullett pitched 6+23 innings and allowed just one earned run (1.35 earned run average) as he and veteran Clay Carroll helped keep an injury-riddled pitching staff competitive in the series.[5] During the 1972 season Gullett suffered from hepatitis. That season turned out to be the only one in which he had a losing record.[6]

Gullett was the pitcher when Willie Mays hit the 660th and last home run of his Major League Baseball career on August 17, 1973.[7] Gullett also surrendered Hank Aaron's 660th home run on August 6, 1972.[8]

Gullett played for the Reds through the 1976 season. In November of that year, as a free agent, he signed with the New York Yankees.[9] His fourth start with New York came on a rainy day at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore on April 25. During the fourth inning, Gullett slipped and fell on the wet pitching mound, spraining his ankle and straining a muscle in his neck. The injury required him to wear a neck brace and miss some starts.[10] In his return on May 7, he struck out 10 and threw 154 pitches in a complete game, 11–2 victory over the Oakland Athletics.[11] He enjoyed a 14–4 season with the Yankees in 1977, but shoulder problems in 1978 signaled the end of his career at age 27.[12]

During a nine-year career, Gullett accumulated 109 wins and posted a 3.11 earned run average and tallied 921 strikeouts.[13] Playing for only nine seasons, Gullett was a member of six World Series teams (1970, '72, '75, '76, '77, and '78), including four consecutive world champions ('75 and '76 Reds, and '77 and '78 Yankees).

At the plate, Gullett posted a career batting average of .194. In a 1975 National League Championship Series game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Gullett pitched a complete game and hit a single and home run, collecting 3 runs batted in.

After sitting out the 1979 and 1980 seasons due to extensive shoulder and rotator cuff problems,[14] Gullett was released by the Yankees in late 1980.[15]

In 1989, Gullett played for the St. Lucie Legends of the Senior Professional Baseball Association.

In 1993, he rejoined the Reds as pitching coach, a post he held until being ousted mid-season in 2005.[16]

Personal life

Gullett married his wife, Cathy, in 1969. The couple are parents of a son and two daughters.[17] Gullett has suffered two heart attacks.[18]

He resides at and owns a farm in his hometown of Lynn in Greenup County, Kentucky. Tobacco was the primary crop grown during the 1970s and 1980s.[19] About 800 Cannabis being cultivated on his farmland was discovered by the Kentucky State Police on August 1, 1977.[20] He denied any knowledge of the plants. The farmland's caretaker was his brother Jack who was indicted on a charge of trafficking in a controlled substance the following month on September 30.[21] Red Smith joked, "Gullett, of course, doesn't have to grow his own. With the salary he wangled out of the Yankees as a free agent, he can afford to buy all the joints he needs in the retail market."[20]

Career statistics

W L PCT ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO HBP WP BF WHIP
109 50 .686 3.11 266 186 35 44 14 11 1390 1205 528 481 115 501 921 12 36 5763 1.227

References

  1. ^ "Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame at MLB.com". mlb.com. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
  2. ^ Hunter, Al. "Unlucky Don Gullett's Lucky Decade". The Weekly View. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  3. ^ Kaiser, Robert (October 1, 1989). "Don Gullet's Spectacular Career Only a Memory". chicagotribune.com. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  4. ^ Reading Eagle (June 6, 1969) "California Outfielder Picked First in Draft" Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  5. ^ The Deseret News (April 17, 1970) "Gullet Relieves, Wins Baseball Debut" Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  6. ^ Newspapers, Robert Kaiser, Knight-Ridder. "DON GULLETT'S SPECTACULAR CAREER ONLY A MEMORY". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  7. ^ Waldstein, David (April 22, 2015). "On the Night Willie Mays Hit No. 660, It Was Just Another Number". New York Times. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  8. ^ Inabinett, Mark (April 8, 2015). "Beyond 715: Hank Aaron's most famous home run plus nine other memorable round-trippers". Advance Local. AL.com. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  9. ^ Beaver County Times (November 18, 1976) "Gullet Yankees' Latest Millionaire" Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  10. ^ Chass, Murray (April 26, 1977). "Yanks Down Orioles for 6th in Row". The New York Times. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
  11. ^ Montgomery, Paul L. (May 8, 1977). "White, Rivers and Nettles Homer". The New York Times. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
  12. ^ Tri City Herald (December 2, 1977) "$ugar Ray on top" Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  13. ^ "Don Gullett Statistics and History | Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  14. ^ Schenectady Gazette (March 14, 1979) "Gullet 'Satisfied' With His Progress" Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  15. ^ Palm Beach Post (October 25, 1980) "Yankees Waive Gullett" Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  16. ^ "Last-place Reds fire manager Miley". June 21, 2005.
  17. ^ Embry, Mike (September 26, 1989). "DOWN ON THE FARM, EAGER FOR THE MAJORS". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  18. ^ Company, Tampa Publishing. "Bad health still plagues Don Gullett". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  19. ^ Embry, Mike. "Don Gullett Pitches for Own Farm Team," The Associated Press (AP), Sunday, September 24, 1989. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  20. ^ a b Smith, Red. "Sounds in a Long, Hot Summer," The New York Times, Wednesday, August 3, 1977. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  21. ^ Rogers, Thomas. "People in Sports," The New York Times, Tuesday, October 4, 1977. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
Preceded byBuzz Capra National League Player of the Month July 1974 Succeeded byLou Brock