Suds Sutherland

Suds Sutherland

Harvey Scott "Suds" Sutherland (February 20, 1894 – May 11, 1972) was a Major League Baseball pitcher who played for the Detroit Tigers in 1921. Born in Beaverton, Oregon, Sutherland started playing in the Pacific Coast League. In 1919, he pitched an 11–0 no-hitter against the San Francisco Seals. In 1921, he got his shot at the major leagues with the Detroit Tigers. Sutherland came to the Tigers during the Spring of 1921, just as Ty Cobb was taking over as the manager for the Tigers. The Tigers team of 1921 was a hard-hitting team (they had a team batting average of .316), but they were in dire need of pitching. Sutherland seized the opportunity, and in the first two months of his rookie season, Sutherland compiled a 6–2 record in 8 starts. On top of his fine pitching, Sutherland compiled a .407 batting average in 29 at bats in the first two months of the season. Sutherland's pitching career came to an abrupt end on June 12, 1921, as Sutherland found himself in the middle of the Babe Ruth-Ty Cobb feud. In the fifth inning of a game against the Yankees, Babe Ruth reportedly hit a 3–0 pitch off Sutherland into the upper deck. Cobb ran in from center field and took his anger out on the rookie pitcher.

The Tigers' pitching staff gave up six home runs to the Babe during the four-game series in June 1921:

  • 6/11/1921: Jim Middleton gave up a home run to Ruth in the 7th inning in Detroit.
  • 6/12/1921: Rookie Suds Sutherland gave up a home run to Ruth in the 5th inning in Detroit.
  • 6/13/1921: Veteran Howard Ehmke gave up two home runs to Ruth in the 3rd and 7th innings.
  • 6/14/1921: Veteran Hooks Dauss gave up two home runs to Ruth in the 1st and 3rd innings.

Perhaps because Sutherland was a rookie, Sutherland took the brunt of Cobb's anger. Even though Sutherland had the team's best win-loss record at 6–2, Cobb never forgave Sutherland for giving up a mammoth blast to the Babe. As a result, Sutherland did not pitch for the Tigers after June 21, 1921.

Sutherland died in Portland, Oregon, in 1972 at age 78. He was laid to rest at Pioneer Cemetery in Portland.

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