Gutteridge gone but not forgotten 

September, 8, 2008
Tough news yesterday: We've lost Don Gutteridge. He was the seventh-oldest living major leaguer, and played with Ted Williams, Frankie Frisch, Ralph Kiner, Leo Durocher, and Dizzy Dean.

Regrettably, I never met Don Gutteridge. But I've never forgotten the first time I became aware of him. More than 20 years ago I picked up a new book by Jack Etkin: "Innings Ago: Recollections by Kansas City Ballplayers of their Days in the Game," which included an interview with Gutteridge. What really struck me was the photo of Gutteridge, taken outside his home in Pittsburg, Kansas. The modern-day Gutteridge was in his batting stance; next to him, his mailbox, topped by a small statue of Gutteridge as a young man in his batting stance.

Gutteridge never actually played in Kansas City, but he spent his entire life as a resident of Pittsburg, which is about three hours south of Kansas City. A longtime Kansas Citian myself, I can tell you that we always considered Gutteridge one of our own. As a Royals scout in 1968, Gutteridge may have been largely responsible for the drafting of Paul Splittorff, who still holds the franchise record with 166 victories.