Paul Splittorff

This article was written by John DiFonzo

Some would call Paul Splittorff the “original Royal” because he was selected in Kansas City’s first amateur draft, started in the franchise’s first game and the first game at Kaufman Stadium, pitched for 15 seasons, and served as a broadcaster for 24 years. The bespectacled blond left-hander with the high leg kick appeared to squint on the mound, giving the impression that he had trouble seeing the catcher’s signs, and this proved disconcerting for hitters. Splittorff did not possess an overpowering fastball, instead relying on finesse, a variety of pitches, and control to get batters out. He remains the team’s all-time leader in wins.

Splittorff was intelligent and iron-willed, had a strong work ethic, and prepared meticulously for each start. He was a reliable workhorse who took the mound every fifth day. From 1972 to 1980, he averaged almost 30 starts, 217 innings pitched, and an ERA between 3.13 and 4.24. Never flamboyant, Splittorff was unassuming and preferred to fly under the radar. Splittorff was prepared, gave 100 percent, and was good enough to keep his team in games. He was a student of the game, studied hitters, and paid attention to the game when he wasn’t playing in the days before videotape. He had remarkable intelligence, former managers and coaches marveling at his ability to attack hitters’ weaknesses.

Splittorff was known as a Yankee killer because of his 2-0 record and 2.68 ERA in six playoff appearances. A college graduate who majored in business, Splittorff dabbled in real estate, bought rental property and sold rookie George Brett his home in Blue Springs, Missouri.

In his second career, Splittorff through his intelligence and hard work, became an insightful, respected broadcaster. He was also a respected member of the community, known for his charitable work. He was named Heart Fund chairman for its annual Blue Springs drive.

Paul William “Splitt” Splittorff was born on October 8, 1946, in Evansville, Indiana, to Paul Splittorff Sr., a salesman, and Bettye (Reckner) Splittorff, who were of German descent and met while attending Indiana University. The couple raised three children, Louis, Anne, and Paul Jr. Paul Sr.’s job required him to travel throughout the Midwest, and he was able to watch his son pitch at many American League ballparks. “He was very into sports and spent a lot of time with me as a kid,” said the pitcher. “He encouraged me to me to play sports, not just baseball, basketball and football also. Maybe I’m in baseball because that’s the one thing he could not do. He played basketball and football in high school and could shoot the eyes out of a basket, but he liked baseball more than any other sport. I guess he was just a sports nut.”1 Bettye was employed by Town District High School 214. She loved to travel, and was a licensed pilot.

Splittorff attended Arlington High School in Arlington Heights, Illinois.  He went out for the baseball team as a first baseman, but coach Bob Baker groomed the 6-foot-3 left-hander as a pitcher. Because he attended a high school with a large student body, there wasn’t an opportunity to play varsity baseball in his freshman or sophomore years. He posted a 6-3 record in his junior year. Splittorff was the captain of the baseball team in his senior year and recorded a 7-1 with a 2.10 ERA.2 Splittorff was an All-Suburban Valley selection and was named the team’s most valuable player. In basketball, Splittorff averaged 18 points per game and was named to All-Conference and All-Chicago teams.3

That same year Splittorff played American Legion ball for Merle Guild Post 208 of Arlington Heights and won 12 and lost 2 with a 2.10 ERA, leading his team to a berth in the Legion World Series. Art Stewart, senior adviser for the Royals, recalled Splittorff during his high-school days remarked in 2011, “He was a fierce competitor. He didn’t throw hard enough to be drafted out of high school, but he was a real intelligent guy with a lot of savvy, a lot of moxie for his age and he pitched that Legion team all the way to the World Series. He had a lot of heart.”4

Splittorff caught the attention of one of the Legion World Series umpires, Don Protexter, who was also a baseball coach at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. Splittorff enrolled at Morningside, studying business administration, and played on the varsity baseball and basketball teams. In 1967 he went 5-3 with a 1.95 ERA and in 1968 he went 6-2 with a 2.80 ERA.5 He was named All North Central Conference both seasons. In one season, Splittorff averaged a conference-record 13 strikeouts per game. During the summers of 1966 and 1967, Splittorff played semipro baseball for the Valentine (Nebraska) Hearts of the Basin League. In 1966 he went 3-1 with a 3.96 ERA. In 1967 Splittorff played on the US baseball team that won the Pan-American Games title in Winnipeg. While attending Morningside, Splittorff met and married Lynn Litterick of Sioux City Iowa.

During his junior year, Splittorff was drafted by the expansion Kansas City Royals in the 25th round of the June 1968 amateur draft. Even though he had one year of eligibility left, he was signed by Lou Gorman, the Royals’ farm director, and accelerated his studies and completed his degree early in February 1969 in order to concentrate on baseball come spring training. Splittorff started his baseball career in 1968 with the Corning Royals of the short-season New York-Penn League.

The Royals didn’t begin playing until 1969, so when Splittorff took the mound for Corning in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, he started the first game in the history of the Royals organization. Splittorff posted an 8-5 record and a 3.45 ERA, tied for the league lead in strikeouts (136), complete games (11), and innings pitched (120), and led the league’s pitchers in home runs allowed (11), hits allowed (127), and wild pitches (17). Splittorff won the praise of his manager, Bobo Osborne, who said, “He learned real fast. He progressed as rapidly as any player I’ve ever seen. You tell him something once and he remembers it.”6

In 1969 Splittorff started spring training assigned to Double-A High Point-Thomasville but was quickly promoted to the Omaha Royals of the Triple-A American Association, who were managed by Jack McKeon. The first draftee from the Royals first draft to reach Triple A, Splittorff became one of the team’s workhorses, and was among the league leader in innings pitched and victories. On October 24, 1969, he was the first of the original draftees to be placed on the Royals’ major-league roster. Of the difference between college and professional ball, he said, “You play baseball, that’s your job. That’s the only thing you have to do. You get to concentrate on it. You’re always taking baseball in the clubhouse. You can pick up a lot from that.”7 

After receiving some consideration for a bullpen spot with the Royals in 1970, Splittorff instead spent a second season with Omaha, who won their second consecutive American Association title. He posted an 8-12 record with a 3.83 ERA, and earned a September call-up to the Royals. Splittorff was the first of the 48 players signed by the club from the 1968 draft to make it to the Royals.8

Splittorff made his major-league debut on September 23, 1970, starting against the Chicago White Sox in Comiskey Park. Splittorff pitched seven innings, striking out eight, walking three and giving up five runs, three of them earned, as he took a 6-0 loss. Hesingled in his first major-league at-bat. On the 29th, when starter Al Fitzmorris injured a shoulder while warming up, Splittorff replaced him and was roughed up for four runs in 1⅔ innings. (The Royals took him off the hook with a five-run fourth.)

After the season, Gorman, then the Royals director of minor-league operations and scouting, gave this assessment: “Splittorff does not have overpowering stuff, but his fastball and breaking ball are both good enough. He started to put everything together the last month of the season at Omaha and he has pitched as well as he ever has. In the past he was inconsistent, but once he got in the groove, he set hitters up well and pitched like a man who knew what he was doing. He has a definite chance to make our staff in [1971] spring training. If he doesn’t do it, I think he’ll make it later in the year.”9 After the season, Splittorff pitched in the Florida Instructional League on the Royals team managed by McKeon.

Splittorff did not make the major-league roster out of spring training in 1971 and reported to Omaha for a third season. “When they sent me down near the end of spring training I was jolted,” he said. “Jack [McKeon] told me it was better to go back to Omaha, perfect my pitches and stay in the majors a long time instead of getting rocked before you are ready. Every player feels he must rush things. It’s a battle of time. I was 23. I thought time was running out. I felt I should get up here or find something else to do. You feel you have to move up a level every year in the minors and make it up here by the time you’re 24.”10

Perfect his pitches he did. In his first six starts at Omaha in 1971, Splittorff went 5-1 with a 0.40 ERA. In one game he tied the team’s strikeout record at 14. That was out of character, he acknowledged; he was more of a control pitcher who moved the ball around the strike zone and changed speeds. “That’s an unusual night for me. I don’t consider myself a strikeout pitcher. I figure if I strike out six or seven, that is average for me. I just concentrate on getting ahead of a hitter in the count, then make a good to pitch to get him out.”11 Splittorff earned a second call-up in June and stayed with the Royals for good. He started 22 games, going 8-9 with a 2.68 ERA. Splittorff was runner-up to Bill Parsons of Milwaukee as The Sporting News Rookie Pitcher of the Year for the American League.

In 1972 Splittorff established himself as a major-league starter. He began 9-4 and had a streak of 23 consecutive scoreless innings.12 He slumped but broke out of it in late August when he hurled five complete games in his last six starts. He ended the season 12-12 with a 3.13 ERA in 33 starts and struck out a career-high 140 batters. Splittorff’s slump was attributed to three factors, he was hit in the right shoulder on a line drive by Willie Horton which affected his motion; he was suffering from an illness; and he was working on a new pitch, a slider, to the detriment of his curveball. When he needed to throw a curve in a game, he could not locate it.

In 1973 Splittorff turned 26 and set out to be more consistent. He didn’t throw as hard and had greater control of his pitches. It seemed to pay off. Splittorff won six of his first eight starts with a 2.61 ERA. On April 10 the Royals opened Royal Stadium (now called Kauffman Stadium). Splittorff was the starting pitcher and tossed a complete game to get a 12-1 win over the Texas Rangers.  At the All-Star break he was 12-5, but did not get named to the All-Star team. He had hurt his back and AL manager Dick Williams was worried that he could not pitch. Splittorff was disappointed and was never named an All-Star in his career. During the season he was overall more consistent with the exception of a slump in August. Splittorff won his last five starts of the season and finished with 20 wins, the first Royals pitcher to reach that plateau. He said of his achievement, “It certainly was the biggest thrill of my baseball career. I did have my usual August slump, but the first 3½ months I was as consistent as can be. To win 20 games again, I’ll have to fight the same thing — consistency — and again have a good team behind me.”13 McKeon remarked, “Paul never takes anything for granted. He has great self-discipline, confidence and dedication.”14

The Royals were runners-up to the Oakland A’s in 1973 and critics pointed to their lack of pitching as evidenced by an American League 10th-worst 4.19 team ERA, down from 3.24 (ninth-worst) in 1972. Splittorff thought the criticism was unfair and said the new ballpark had some effect: “People do not stop and think how much conditions changed when we moved from Municipal Stadium to our new ballpark. In Royals Stadium, the fences are shorter, the lighting is better and you have artificial turf. The old park was a pitchers’ ballpark, the new stadium is a hitters’ park. … How can you use the same set of statistics to compare a pitcher who pitched in Fenway Park with a pitcher who pitched in our old park? Last season there were more total runs given up in Royals Stadium than anywhere else. That means pitchers from other clubs gave up a lot of runs, too. … People should remember we’re playing a different game in our new stadium than in our old one.”15

In 1974 Splittorff had a down year: 13-19, 4.10 ERA, 252 hits allowed in 226 innings pitched. He attributed his failures to minor injuries and inconsistency. Once again, he tried to develop a slider, but remained a two-pitch pitcher. Splittorff critiqued himself: “I did not throw well consistently over any period of time. I’d be good for two weeks and bad for two weeks. I had some minor injuries which weren’t publicized, but I can’t use them as an excuse. I wasn’t actually wild, but I was getting behind batters more than I had in the past. I was just off the corner where before I had been on it. My breaking ball was poor and I developed poor arm motion. I was throwing my fastball with normal arm motion, but when I threw my curve, I was choking the ball way back in my hand and slowing down my motion.”16 Opposing batters would wait on his fastball and had time to adjust to his curve. On the plus side, Splittorff credited himself for improving his ability to pitch inside and said he had developed what he called a “hard curve for 1975.”17

But Splittorff got off to a bad start in 1975, starting 1-4 with a 5.08 ERA. After a bad outing on May 3 against the Minnesota Twins, McKeon demoted him to the bullpen to change his routine and build up his confidence. McKeon had confidence in his lefty, saying, “As far as his stuff is concerned, he’s throwing as well as he ever has. The year he won 20, he had excellent control. He could put the ball on the outside corner when he wanted to. Somewhere along the line, he got out of his groove. I had him in the minors when no one believed in him. I did then and I still do.”18 For his part, Splittorff said, “Right now, I’m just confused. I’m throwing the ball well at times but I’m not consistent. When I was winning, I was always ahead of the hitter. I’ve been hot enough now that I’ve become a nibbler. I have a tendency to be timid. Instead of throwing for the middle of the plate, I get behind.”19 But he agreed with McKeon’s decision to take him out of the rotation.

Splittorff got himself together in the bullpen, appearing in 12 games, giving up 19 hits and allowing only six earned runs for a 2.25 ERA. Returning to the rotation on July 29, he started 13 games, went 7-4, and lowered his ERA to 3.17 at the end of the season. He had a 24-inning scoreless streak and pitched a masterpiece against the Oakland A’s, whom the Royals were chasing for the division crown. Splittorff walked Phil Garner with one out in the first inning, then gave up a hit to Claudell Washington on a chopper toward third that bounced off home plate. Then he retired the next 26 batters for a 5-0 one-hitter. On September 15, Splittorff was credited with another victory, the 62nd of his career, passing Dick Drago as the team leader.

Splittorff started the 1976 campaign with an 11-6 record and a 3.55 ERA, with an eight-game winning streak. On July 27, after a loss to the Angels, he was diagnosed with a torn tendon sheath on the middle finger of his pitching hand. He was out until September. Returning on September 10, he gave up five runs in 2⅓ innings in relief. He started against the Twins on October 3, the last game of the regular season, lasted four innings, and took the loss. But the Royals had captured the American League West title for the first time, holding off the Oakland A’s. New manager Whitey Herzog, still not confident Splittorff could contribute in the postseason, sent him to the rookie league for some work. Splittorff looked sharp and Herzog decided to use him out of the bullpen in the playoffs.

The Royals faced the New York Yankees in the ALCS. In Game Two, Splittorff relieved Dennis Leonard in the third inning with the Royals trailing 3-2 and held the Yankees scoreless for the next 5⅔ innings. The Royals won 7-3 with Splittorff picking up the win, the Royals’ first-ever playoff victory. In the deciding Game Five, Splittorff relieved Leonard in the first inning with runners on second and third, nobody out, and the Royals trailing 1-0. He allowed an inherited runner to score, but kept the Royals in the game, allowing two runs in 3⅔ innings, leaving the game with the Royals trailing 4-3. The Royals tied the game, 6-6, in the top of the eighth, but Chris Chambliss won the game on a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth to send the Yankees to the World Series.

Splittorff started slowly in 1977, going 1-4 with a 4.72 ERA. But he went 15-2 from May 20 on and finished the season 16-6, 3.69. Splittorff pitched his second one-hitter, against the Milwaukee Brewers on September 2, losing a no-hitter in the eighth inning on a two-out single by Charlie Moore. The Royals captured their second AL West title and again faced the Yankees in the ALCS.

Splittorff started Game One, pitched eight innings, gave up two runs, and earned the victory. He also started the deciding Game Five. In a much debated move Billy Martin sat his superstar Reggie Jackson, who was 2-for-12. Herzog pulled Splittorff in the eighth inning with the Royals leading 3-1 after the leadoff batter got a hit. The Yankees rallied in the ninth to win 5-3. Splittorff defended his manager, saying that he told Herzog he was tired.

In 1978 Splittorff was 31 and the ace of the Royals staff. “The last three years I believe I pitched to my potential,” he said. “I’m doing things I couldn’t do the first five years in the majors. By that I mean pitching inside, getting the breaking ball over consistently, and changing speeds.”20 Splittorff’s best years coincided with the years the Royals were contenders. From June 5, 1976, through 1978 he compiled a 43-21 record. His pitching coach, Galen Cisco, observed, “I’d call Splitt a heady pitcher. He doesn’t try to strike guys out, but when he needs a strikeout, he goes after it. He stays on top of the situation. He never gets rattled.”21 Whitey Herzog appreciated his frankness, saying, “What I like about Paul is that he tells me the truth. When I go out there during a game, he’ll say whether he’s got good stuff or if he can go any longer in a game. He’ll give you all he’s got, and he’ll always get everything out of his ability.”22 His catcher, Darrell Porter, commented, “He’s got a fastball, slider, curve, and changeup. When he puts them where he wants them, it’s a thing of beauty. He knows how to set up hitters. He never tries to overpower anybody, but just with control he can be overpowering.”23

Splittorff finished the season 19-13, falling short of 20 wins when he lost his last start. The Royals won the AL West for the third season in a row and again faced the Yankees. Splittorff was scheduled to start the first game of the ALCS, but his father, Paul Sr., died of lung cancer at age 57 and the funeral was on the day of the game. Splittorff started Game Three in Yankee Stadium with the series tied at one game apiece. He pitched into the eighth inning and was relieved with a runner on and the Royals leading 5-4, but Thurman Munson hit a two-run home run off Doug Bird to give the Yankees a 6-5 victory. The Yankees won the series, three games to one.

The next season, 1979, the Royals were dethroned in the AL West by the California Angels. Splittorff started 35 games and finish the season at 15-17 with a 4.24 ERA. In 1980 he finished 14-11 with a 4.15 ERA. The Royals ran away with the AL West over the Oakland A’s by 14 games. They again faced the Yankees, and this time swept the series. Splittorff started Game Three and was relieved by Dan Quisenberry in the sixth inning with the Royals ahead 1-0 and two runners on. The Yankees scored two runs to take the lead. George Brett hit a three-run home run and Quisenberry shut the door for the pennant. Splittorff exulted: “To me the World Series is as high as you can go. I’ve watched the World Series on TV for years and hey, now Paul Splittorff is going to be playing in it and a lot of guys don’t ever get that opportunity. And to me that means more than anything else — that someone out there is going to be watching me play in the World Series. I can’t explain how much that means to me.”24

It would be bittersweet. Manager Jim Frey decided to go with a three-man rotation and opted for sore-shouldered Rich Gale over Splittorff. Splittorff didn’t pitch in the first five games and was openly critical of his manager, saying, “It’s not the time of year to be making waves, but it’s not fair to me or my teammates. Based on what I have done in the past and this year, I should get a chance to pitch.”25 Splittorff finally appeared in relief in Game Six, in mop-up duty, allowing one run in 1⅔ innings as the Phillies won 4-1 to win the World Series. There was speculation that the veteran left-hander would not be back with the Royals in 1981.

Splittorff did return to the Royals in 1981 but started out slowly. Because of rainouts he was skipped for two starts. Splittorff was not used to the irregular schedule and at one point did not pitch for nine days. He didn’t get his first victory until May 27. Then the players struck and there was no major-league baseball for almost two months. Play resumed on August 10. Splittorff didn’t pitch longer than five innings in his first three starts after the strike. Frey banished him to the bullpen in favor of rookie Mike Jones. When Frey was replaced by Dick Howser, Splittorff did not hold back his feelings, saying, “I never enjoyed playing for him, he is the first manager I never really cared for.”26 Howser was open to the idea of Splittorff starting again, but at the time wanted him coming out of the bullpen, where he remained for the rest of the season. Because of the strike, the major leagues played a split-season format in which the division winners of the first and second half played in a best-of-five Division Series. The Royals, despite finishing fourth overall, won the AL West in the second half and played the Oakland A’s for the division crown. They were swept in three games. Splittorff did not make a postseason appearance and was amenable to a trade.

Because Royals ace Larry Gura was left-handed, as were prospects Mike Jones and Atlee Hammaker, it did not appear there was room for the 35-year-old Splittorff. “I have to turn things around at this point in my career,” he said. “I have been a starter all my life, and I’m sure there’s probably baseball people who are questioning my ability because of age and the number of innings I’ve worked and stuff. And after what happened last year, people are probably thinking, well, he can’t start anymore.”27 But in the offseason, Jones suffered a broken neck in a car accident. Howser employed a five-man rotation and Splittorff competed for one of the open spots. He was determined to make the most of his opportunity and changed his offseason regimen, starting to throw before spring training began. Then just before spring training, Howser told him he was going to be the number-three starter.28

Splittorff started 28 games and went 10-10 with a 4.28 ERA. Throughout his career, Splittorff had nagging injuries such as back spasms during the season that caused him to miss a start, but often the injuries did not cause him to miss significant time. On May 19, 1982, Splittorff lost to the Yankees for the ninth straight time in the regular season as the fortunes of the one-time Yankee killer were reversed. (He ended his career 14-16 with a 4.68 ERA against New York.) Splittorff was one of the more consistent pitchers the Royals had in the second half of the season and re-signed with the Royals for 1983. His contract would be renewed for 1984 if he started 27 games or pitched 180 innings.

In 1983 Splittorff started 27 games, went 13-8 with a 3.63 ERA. He led the staff in wins and ERA at age 36 on a staff that ranked ninth in the American League with a 4.25 ERA as the Royals suffered their first losing season since 1974.

But the future was bright for the team. In 1984 a trio of bright young pitching prospects made the squad out of spring training: Mark Gubicza (21 years old), Danny Jackson (22), and Brett Saberhagen (19). Splittorff’s first start of the season, on April 4, was against the Yankees in Royals Stadium. After allowing four earned runs in 3⅓ innings, Splittorff was relieved by Saberhagen in his debut game. Saberhagen pitched 4⅔ scoreless innings as Splittorff took the loss. In Splittorff’s next start, the pattern was the same. He gave up five runs in two innings, Saberhagen relieved him and allowed one run in five innings. Splittorff was replaced in the starting rotation by Danny Jackson. After being idle for 17 days, in his first relief appearance on April 28, Splittorff came in for Saberhagen. He pitched in relief eight more times before appearing in his last game. Splittorff started on June 26 in Kansas City against Oakland, gave up seven runs (four earned) in 4⅔ innings, and was relieved one last time by Saberhagen.

Splittorff was struggling with a 7.71 ERA. Faced with being released, he announced his retirement in the clubhouse on July 1 after the Royals defeated the Yankees in what was described in The Sporting News as an emotional farewell to a popular veteran who was influential both on and off the field. Though he would leave as the Royals’ all-time leader in wins (166), innings pitched (2,554⅔), games pitched (429), and starts (392),29 his teammates remembered him for more than just the steady production he put up in his 12½ seasons with the Royals. George Brett said, “I think a lot of people look up to him. Buddy Black got teary-eyed and he has only been his teammate for two years.”30 John Wathan said, “He probably epitomizes the name Kansas City Royals. Just a super guy to have on the club. You never heard any complaints.”31 In 1993 Splittorff was named on the Royals 25th-anniversary team and was voted into the Royals Hall of Fame.

Splittorff had planned for a career in broadcasting, covering football for Blue Springs, Missouri, radio station KKJC and University of Missouri-Kansas City basketball. He used the same hard work ethic and preparation as he did as a pitcher and became regarded as a professional. The Royals also used Splittorff as a part-time radio announcer, then signed him to join the club’s TV crew as a play-by-play commentator and analyst. Splittorff also served as a commentator for Big Eight and Big Twelve college basketball.

Splittorff also enjoyed watching his children excel in sports. Jennifer was a scholarship-level softball player. Jamie was a right-hander pitcher who played in the College World Series for Kansas on the same field his father had played on in Omaha. Jamie played three years of minor-league ball in the Minnesota Twins organization.

Royals TV analyst Ryan Lefebvre said of his partner, “There are many former players who get into broadcasting in whatever sport, who in the very end don’t get regarded as a professional broadcaster. There’s probably a whole generation of kids in Kansas City who don’t realize that Paul Splittorff pitched for Kansas City and won 166 games. He’s just a Royals broadcaster who gives them great information, great content every game.”32

Opening Day 2009 listeners noticed that Splittorff’s speech was slurred and he took time off to regain his voice. Former teammate Frank White took over in the booth and Splittorff did pregame and postgame interviews. Splittorff was a mentor to White, who said, “He was very good at what he did, not only baseball but in basketball. He prepared well and when I came on to start doing Fox broadcasts, he was very helpful to me, showing me how to study, how to prepare for games, what periodicals to read. He actually gave me his books first year. He was very helpful, very informational. He wasn’t a selfish person. We did a couple of games together which I thought was very good.”33 Splittorff, a private man who did not want people feeling sorry for him, did not disclose the serious nature of his illness and just said he had a virus. But he began to lose weight and people noticed. He worked some basketball games and pregame and postgame shows for the Royals for two seasons.

Splittorff died on May 25, 2011, of complications from melanoma. He also suffered from oral cancer. He was survived by his wife, Lynn, his daughter, Jennifer Lynn, and his son, Jamie. His family carries on his legacy of community service as active fundraisers for the Saint Mary’s Medical Foundation. They also work to raise awareness and prevention of melanoma.

 

Notes

1 Associated Press, “Splittorff Has More Than Pitching on His Mind,” October 5, 1978.

2 Bob Williams, “Omaha’s Splittorff Baffles A.A. Batters,” The Sporting News, August 23, 1969: 37. This article reports a 12-4 record.

3 Splittorff player file at the National Baseball Hall of Fame library.

4 Dick Kaegel, “Splitt, from beginning to end, the real royal,” MLB.com, May 25, 2011, wap.mlb.com/kc/news/article/2011052519572168/?locale=en_US, accessed on October 31, 2018.

5 Stats come from Splittorff’s Hall of Fame player file. The Sporting News reports 6-3 records both seasons.

6 “Omaha’s Splittorff Baffles A.A. Batters.”

7 Ibid.

8 Jim York was drafted in the June 1969 draft and made his major-league debut on September 21, 1970, becoming the first Royals draftee to make it to the major leagues by two days over Splittorff.

9 Joe McGuff, “Sharp Kid Hurlers Give Royals a Quick Return,” The Sporting News, October 10, 1970: 18.

10 Joe McGuff, “‘Established’ Splittorff Eyes a Higher Plateau: Stardom,” The Sporting News, June 2, 1973: 11.

11 Joe McGuff, “Control, Confidence Making Splittorff a Winner at Omaha,” The Sporting News, June 5, 1971: 37.

12 From the third inning of his April 16, 1972, start to the third inning of his May 3 start, Splittorff allowed only one unearned run. On April 22 Splittorff pitched an eight-inning complete game and lost 1-0 on an eighth-inning error.

13 Bob Wirz, “Splittorff Named Royals Top Pitcher,” Kansas City Royals Baseball Club — News Release, November 28, 1973.

14 Ibid.

15 Joe McGuff, “Royals’ ERA an Unfair Yardstick, Says Splittorff,” The Sporting News, March 30, 1974: 39.  

16 Joe McGuff, “Splittorff Cites Slider for ’74 Woes,” The Sporting News, April 5, 1975: 41.

17 Ibid.

18 Joe McGuff, “Slump in Confidence Takes Toll on Splittorff,” The Sporting News, July 5, 1975: 9.

19 Ibid.

20 Del Black, “‘Split’ Giving Royals a 10-Strike on Mound,” The Sporting News, May 6, 1978: 19.

21 Del Black, “Royal Family United on Splitt — He’s Great,” The Sporting News, July 1, 1978: 3.

22 Ibid.

23 Ibid.

24 Dick Kaegel, “They’re A.L. Royalty,” The Sporting News, October 25, 1980: 13.

25 “Splittorff Wants to Pitch,” The Sporting News, November 1, 1980: 12.

26 Blair Kerkhoff, “Royal Great Paul Splittorff Dies,” Kansas City Star, May 25, 2011.

27 Dave Renbarger, “Splittorff — After 2,209 Innings of Wear, This 35-Year-Old Left-hander Must Prove Baseball Doubters Wrong,” Fort Myers (Florida) News-Press, date unknown.

28 Mike McKenzie, “Splittorff a Starter in Royals New Plan,” The Sporting News, February 13, 1982: 42.

29 As of the 2018 season, Splittorff was still the team leader in career wins, innings, and games started. He has been surpassed in game appearances.

30 Mike Fish, “A Royal Original Bids the Club Goodbye,” The Sporting News, July 16, 1984: 30.

31 Ibid.

32 “Royals Great Paul Splittorff Dead at 64,” Associated Press, May 25, 2011.

33 Dick Kaegel, “Splitt from Beginning to End, the Real Royal,” MLB.com, May 25, 2011, wap.mlb.com/kc/news/article/2011052519572168/?locale=en_US, accessed on October 31, 2018.

Full Name

Paul William Splittorff

Born

October 8, 1946 at Evansville, IN (USA)

Died

May 25, 2011 at Blue Springs, MO (USA)

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