Today's Joplin Globe features an editorial praising the life and work of former major league baseball player, manager, and scout Don Gutteridge.
Gutteridge, 95, Pittsburg, Kan., is one of the few players remaining from the first all-Missouri World Series (he played for the St. Louis Browns when they lost to the Cardinals in 1944), is being inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame later this month:
Gutteridge’s story is the fantasy of just about every youngster who pounds a baseball into a well-worn glove and daydreams of walking onto the grass or synthetic carpet of a big-league stadium. He was a summer-league player who was spotted by Joplin scout Joe Becker, sent to Lincoln, Neb., and four years later found himself as a St. Louis Cardinals third baseman.
Never a great hitter, he nevertheless fashioned a 12-year career as an excellent fielder and as a speedy runner. More important, at least in the long run, Gutteridge absorbed the intricacies and lore of baseball. It kept him in the game after he left the playing field. “I knew I couldn’t do anything else,” he told the Globe’s Zach Ewing. “I never had. I couldn’t even sell groceries.”
So he worked with young talent in the minor leagues as a player-manager and player-coach before joining the Chicago White Sox for a decade as a coach. He later managed the Sox, winding up with a 109-172 record. That’s when he launched another career in baseball as a scout for the Kansas City Royals, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Don Gutteridge’s mind has remained sharp over the years. Wendell Redden, former Globe sports editor, said a year or so ago that the storied Pittsburg baseball man could name the pitcher off whom he got his first big-league hit and recall the highlights of his two appearances in the World Series.
His selection to the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame was a natural.