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Paul Splittorff

Paul Splittorff

Position(s):
P
Born:
October 8, 1946
Bats:
Left
Throws:
Left
Height:
6' 3"
Weight:
205 lbs
Major League Debut:
9-23-1970 with KCA

 

Splittorff was the first player originally signed by the Royals to make it to the majors, and in 1973 he became their first 20-game winner. A thinking control pitcher with a fine sinkerball, he led the AL with a .727 winning percentage by going 16-6 in 1977 (despite a 1-4 start), helping the Royals to their second of three consecutive division titles. He threw two one-hitters, including one on August 3, 1975, in which he set down the last 26 Oakland batters. Beleaguered by back problems, after 17 years in the Royals' organization, he retired as the club's all-time leader in games and innings pitched, starts, wins, and losses.

Career Biography:

Paul Splittorff accumulated 166 career victories over a 15 year career with the Royals, the most in team history. He made his debut on September 23, 1970 and by 1972, at age 25, he was a fixture in the Kansas City rotation. He finished in the league top 10 in wins three times, in 1973, 1977, and 1978.

Never an All-Star and usually overshadowed by teammates Steve Busby, Dennis Leonard and Larry Gura, Splittorff's consistency and longevity resulted in him winning more games than any of them.

Besides this, Splittorff was known for staring down hitters after he struck them out. He was particularly effective pitching against the New York Yankees, who tended to stock up on left-handed hitters to take advantage of the dimensions of Yankee Stadium, and Splittorff compiled a 2-0 record with a 2.68 earned run average pitching in four championship series against them.

Splittorff retired iwhen his effectiveness faded at the same time the Royals had numerous young pitchers coming through the ranks. His final game was on June 26, 1984.

After his retirement, Splittorff became a television color commentator for the Royals. He was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame in 1987.

On May 16, 2011, Splittorff's battle with oral cancer and melanoma became public. Nine days later, on the morning of May 25, he died in his Blue Springs, Missouri home at the age of 64

 

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