Cardinals retire Sutter's jersey

Sunday, September 17th 2006, 7:10 am
By: News On 6

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Bruce Sutter's fondest baseball memory is striking out Milwaukee's Gorman Thomas for the final out of 1982 World Series, the St. Louis Cardinals' last championship.

The next two baseball memories have come this year. Sutter said Sunday that having his No. 42 jersey retired at Busch Stadium ranks close to induction day at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

``I never thought it was going to happen for me,'' he said. ``It's just so special. You're up there with (Stan) Musial and Ozzie (Smith) and Lou Brock. I still wonder sometimes if I belong with that group. It's just a humbling experience.''

Sutter helped pioneer the split-fingered fastball and was a key component on the 1982 Cardinals. He had 45 of his 300 saves that season.

As the general manager of that team, Whitey Herzog acquired Sutter in 1981 and then managed him in the championship season.

``In my 40-some years of professional baseball,'' Herzog said, ``he was by far the most dominant and best reliever I've ever seen.''

It's the ninth jersey retired by the Cardinals, joining Red Schoendienst, Enos Slaughter, Ken Boyer, Dizzy Dean, Bob Gibson, Musial, Smith and Brock on a wall of fame in left field at new Busch Stadium. Major league baseball already has retired No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson, and both names are listed under that number.

Sutter wasn't sure how the Cardinals would handle retiring his number, since Robinson's name and number already were on the outfield wall. They placed the players' names side-by-side on the wall underneath their shared number.

``What a great honor it is to be up there and be beside him,'' Sutter said. ``He was a better player and did a lot more for baseball than I ever did. It's just an honor to be right there with him.''

Sutter also threw out the first pitch with former teammate Bob Forsch on the receiving end before St. Louis' scheduled game against San Francisco was rained out. Sutter's three sons, Chad, Josh and Ben, attended the ceremony.
``If it wasn't for his big three-run home run in the first, we might still be playing,'' Carpenter said. ``He's done a great job and he's made some phenomenal catches, and he made one today.''

Carpenter (15-6) gave up five hits and struck out nine. He's 5-0 in his last eight starts, all of the victories coming at home, where he has a major league-best 1.46 ERA.

Carpenter improved to 100-66 lifetime. He's the third St. Louis pitcher to reach 100 victories this season, following Mark Mulder and Jeff Suppan, and all of them received a beer shower from their teammates.

The Giants stranded two runners in each of the first two innings against Carpenter, who retired 10 in a row before Morris doubled with one out in the fifth. Carpenter then set down the next eight in a row, including three straight strikeouts against the top of the order.

Morris, a former 20-game winner with the Cardinals, had played his entire career in St. Louis before signing a free-agent deal with the Giants in the offseason. He got a big ovation from a sellout crowd before his first at-bat and doffed his helmet, but could not recover from a rocky first in which he surrendered a leadoff triple to Miles, Pujols' one-out RBI single and Encarnacion's 19th homer.

In two starts against his old team, Morris (10-14) is 0-2 and has allowed nine earned runs in 12 innings. This was his first start at new Busch Stadium.

``At this point in the season, I felt at home in a Giants uniform and it felt like another game,'' Morris said. ``The new ballpark helped that out. There's not that much history behind me here.''

Scott Rolen, who had a career-best seven RBIs in a two-homer game on Friday night, added RBI doubles for St. Louis in the fifth and seventh.