Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Paul Splittorff 1946-2011

Splitt is gone. He confirmed the extent of his illness just last week, and very much like Harmon Killebrew before him, passed so quickly we hardly had a chance to consider the man and his career.

Paul Splittorff was born in Evansville, IN, attended Morningside College in Sioux City, IA, and pitched for the Kansas City Royals for his entire career, 1970-1984. Splitt retired with a 166-143 win-loss record and career 3.81 ERA over 2554.2 innings pitched during his 15 seasons as a Royal and is well-known as “the winningest pitcher” in Royals history.

Splittorff wasn’t the snazziest pitcher in the Royal ‘pen, but his presence was unforgettable. His icy stare as he struck out opposing batters could stop deadly lava flow instantly. He was a solid craftsman with a true heart of gold, one of the hardest working pitchers I can think of…he didn’t have heat but he had a trunk full of uff-da and was adept at using any of his pitches and excellent command when he needed to. He was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame in 1987.

You can revisit Splitt’s 3.2 IP in relief of Dennis Leonard during the 1976 ALCS Game 5 here

Splittorff was great in the broadcast booth, I enjoyed his appearances during pre- and post-game shows as well as during games…even after his voice became slurred, apparently due to his illness. He always seemed like he was actively living the part of being one of the nicest people on earth.

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