Hailed by Sparky Anderson as a sure Hall of Famer and the next Sandy Koufax, this Kentucky farm boy was a vital part of the Big Red Machine in the early 1970s. The 19-year-old rookie flamethrower struck out six Mets in a row on August 23, 1970 (2nd game), tying a relief record, and Willie Stargell said Gullett “throws nothing but wall-to-wall heat.” Moved into the rotation in 1971, Gullett went 16-6 (2.64) and led the NL in winning percentage (.727). He usually had a high winning percentage; from 1973 through 1976 he was 61-26. He was named to TSN’s postseason all-star team in 1974.
Gullett signed with the Yankees as a free agent for 1977 and went 14-4 to help New York to a World Championship, but it would be his last good season. Persistent shoulder problems, perhaps caused by his pitching motion, led to rotator cuff damage that ended his career.