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  • Writer's picturePaul Semendinger

Card-by-Yankees Card: The 1977 Topps Set, Don Gullett (Article 4)

by Paul Semendinger

***

Fans today just don’t know how good Don Gullett was before be came to the Yankees. Gullett was a star lefty – an ace.


He had been a member of the great Cincinnati Reds “Big Red Machine” teams that had won the 1975 and 1976 World Series. In fact, Gullett was the Reds’ Game One starter against the Yankees in the 1976 World Series (a series the Reds swept).


Just take a look at the back of Gullett’s baseball card to see his season-by-season wins and losses. The guy was good… better than good:


1973: 18-8, 3.51


1974: 17-11, 3.04


1975: 15-4, 2.42


1976: 11-3, 3.00


Amazing…right? Gullet's excellence has been largely forgotten today.


Over those four seasons, 1973 through 1976, Don Gullet was 61-26, 3.04. His winning percentage was .701. Amazing. He was a big time pitcher. In the 1975 post season, he earned wins against the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Boston Red Sox. In 1976, he won his starts against the Philadelphia Phillles and the Yankees.


The only thing Gullett didn’t have was durability. He was breaking down. In 1975, he pitched 159.2 innings, but in 1976, he was only able to log 126 innings. Still, the Yankees signed him with the hopes that he’d help anchor their staff.


And he did, for a short time.


In 1977, Don Gullett pitched to a 14-4, 3.58 record for the Yankees. He was able to log 158.1 innings for the Bombers, though the same arm troubles showed up. In 1977, Gullett didn’t pitch at all in August. He did come back, though, to go 4-1 in September logging three complete games.


Gullett pitched three times in the 1977 post season, but that was basically it for him. His arm problems ended his career after only eight games pitched in 1978.


Gullett is not a mostly forgotten star, but boy did he shine brightly for a while.

4 Comments


Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
Dec 21, 2023

He was only 27 when his career ended. He was signed through 1982, and you have to wonder if he had stayed healthy, if he could have made a difference in the 1980 and '81 post-seasons.

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Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
Dec 22, 2023
Replying to

Excellent question. I think so. Three of the top four starters in 1980 were lefties, as was the fifth/swingman, Rudy May. I think the more likely result is that they wouldn't have taken Tom Underwood in the Toronto deal in which they got Cerone to replace Munson.


That said, the Yanks were swept, and May and John pitched well, and it's not like you wouldn't start Guidry, who got shelled. So at least in '80, I don't think Gullett would have made a difference.

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Alan B.
Alan B.
Dec 21, 2023

Baseball cards back in tge day they'd show up right at the end of Spring Training because the few days of guys showing up they'd take pictures in the guys new uniforms.


Oh, and because of Gary Alexander's perfect, flawless autograph on his card, my father taught me never to sign it like that.. too easy to forget. I wasn't even 9!


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