But he was in the picture from then on. Pitching at first in relief-he made nine such appearances—he gradually moved into the starting rotation as arm miseries afflicted Welch and Rau. He responded by leading the Dodgers' staff in wins (17) and innings pitched (242), and he was named the National League Rookie of the Year, an accomplishment he ranks second to just having made the team. Lasorda, among others, is convinced Sutcliffe can become the Pitcher of the '80s. "He put on a tremendous exhibition of determination and desire," Lasorda says. "He's a knowledgeable young man. He's a good student, a competitor. He loves to win. I think he'll be around for many, many years."
So should they all, these young men of the future, these players of the decade ahead. Their good fortune will be ours, for we will have a good 10 years, fate willing, to share in their brilliance.