Don Gutteridge did just about everything you could imagine on the field in pro baseball during a career that spanned more than 60 years. Actually, we don’t recall him serving as a groundskeeper.
But a 12-year career as in infielder with the Cardinals, Browns, Red Sox and Pirates merely scratched the surface of a notable career for the Pittsburg native.
Gutteridge, truly an ambassador for the southeast Kansas community, was a longtime scout as well as a manager and coach in both the minor and major leagues.
Donald Joseph Gutteridge Sr. was 96 when he died September 7, 2008. On his last birthday, he was the seventh oldest former major league player.
The right-handed batting Gutteridge, who played primarily third base for the Cardinals (1936-40) and second for the Browns (1942-45), is listed5-foot-10, 165 pounds in most record books.
Career numbers for Gutteridge included a .256 average in 1,151 games. He finished with 200 doubles, 64 triples and 39 home runs among 1,075 hits. He also scored 586 runs and swiped 95 bases.
Gutteridge helped the Browns to their only pennant in 1944 — they lost to the Cardinals in the “Streetcar Series” — by rapping 27 doubles, 11 triples, stealing 20 bases and scoring 89 runs.
The Cardinals also got the best of Gutteridge in the 1946 World Series. This time, the Red Sox were the victims. Gutteridge, however, did go 2-for-5 at the plate.
A robust 1941 campaign for the Sacramento Solons of the Pacific Coast League — playing for good friend and former Cardinal teammate Pepper Martin — catapulted Gutteridge to the Browns.
Gutteridge averaged .309 for the Solons with 210 hits, 113 runs, 31 doubles, 13 triples, 13 homers, 88 RBI and 46 stolen bases in 171 games.
Don’s lengthy service as a coach under Al Lopez with the White Sox landed another Word Series gig. This time, in 1959, the Dodgers were the spoilers.
Don, who scouted for the Royals, Yankees, and Dodgers, was accompanied by his wife Helen Francis on several of those assignments. She died March 9, 2009, at 96
Their son, Don Jr., lives in Oklahoma City. Don and Sonja have three sons — Lance, Sean, and Joshua.
The Joplin Area Sports Hall of Fame is the fourth shrine for the elder Gutteridge. He also is a member of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame and the St. Louis Browns Hall of Fame.