Don Gullett Cause of Death: A Tribute to the Reds and Yankees Pitcher

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Written By Drew Gomez






Don Gullett was a former Major League Baseball pitcher who played for the Cincinnati Reds and the New York Yankees in the 1970s.

He was part of four consecutive World Series championship teams and a member of the Reds Hall of Fame. He died on February 14, 2024, at the age of 73. The cause of death was not immediately known, but he had reportedly suffered from health problems in recent years. In this article, we will look back at his life and career, and pay tribute to his legacy.

Early Life and Career

Don Gullett was born on January 6, 1951, in Lynn, Kentucky. He was a multi-sport star in high school, excelling in baseball, basketball, and football.

He once threw a perfect game in baseball, striking out 20 of the 21 batters he faced. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the first round of the 1969 MLB draft, and made his debut in the majors later that year, at the age of 18. He was one of the youngest players in MLB history, and the first player born in the 1950s to play in the majors.

Gullett quickly established himself as a reliable and versatile pitcher, capable of starting or relieving. He had a powerful fastball and a sharp curveball, and was known for his competitiveness and durability.

He was a key member of the Reds dynasty of the 1970s, also known as the Big Red Machine, which featured stars like Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, and Tony Perez. He helped the Reds win the National League pennant in 1970, 1972, 1975, and 1976, and the World Series in 1975 and 1976. He was an All-Star in 1975 and 1976, and finished third in the Cy Young Award voting in 1975.

Relationship with the Yankees

After the 1976 season, Gullett became a free agent and signed a six-year, $2 million contract with the New York Yankees, the team he had just helped defeat in the World Series.

He joined a Yankees team that featured stars like Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson, Graig Nettles, and Ron Guidry. He helped the Yankees win the American League pennant in 1977 and 1978, and the World Series in both years. He was the winning pitcher in Game 5 of the 1977 World Series, which featured Jackson’s famous three-homer performance.

However, Gullett’s career was cut short by a shoulder injury that he suffered in 1978. He made only eight starts that year, and never pitched again in the majors. He attempted a comeback in 1980, but retired after failing to make the Yankees roster. He finished his career with a record of 109-50, a 3.11 ERA, and 921 strikeouts in 266 games. He had a winning percentage of .686, the highest among pitchers with at least 100 wins in MLB history.

Coaching and Legacy

After retiring as a player, Gullett returned to the Reds as a coach in 1990. He served as a bullpen coach, a pitching coach, and a minor league instructor for the Reds for 16 years, until 2005. He worked with pitchers like Tom Browning, Jose Rijo, Rob Dibble, and Danny Graves, and helped the Reds win the World Series in 1990.

He was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 2002, along with his former teammates Bench, Rose, Morgan, and Perez. Gullett was widely respected and admired by his peers, fans, and the media. He was praised for his talent, work ethic, and character.

He was remembered as one of the best pitchers of his era, and one of the most successful players in Reds and Yankees history. He was also a devoted husband, father, and grandfather, who loved his family and his community. He died on February 14, 2024, leaving behind a legacy of excellence and achievement. He was Don Gullett, a champion and a legend.

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