"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Paul Splittorff Passes Away

Here is Joe Pos on Paul Splittorff who died yesterday:

Paul Splittorff, more than anybody I have ever known, refused to live in the past. He had a wonderful past to live in. He won 166 games as a pitcher in the big leagues — he still holds the Royals record for most pitching victories and will own it for years to come. He twice beat the Yankees in the playoffs, enough to be called a “Yankee Killer” for a time (though, as he would say, he had a losing record against the Yankees). He pitched in the World Series. He struck out Reggie Jackson 23 times in his life. Carl Yastrzemski, Al Kaline, Henry Aaron, Billy Williams and Frank Robinson hit a combined .146 against him. He never said much about any of that. He did mention, now and again, that Dick Allen owned him. But only if you asked.

The point is that he had a full life to relive. If that was my life, I would bore people to tears with the stories. Here’s what Paul Splittorff did in the second part of his life: He broadcast sports. He called high school sports. He called college sports. And he called the Kansas City Royals. He worked on his rhythms. He worked on the silences too. He eliminated the stutters, the hesitations, the ums and ers that pepper talk for the rest of us. He became exactly what he was as a pitcher: A professional. That was important to him. Splitt never wanted anything given to him. He could not tolerate the thought that he was an ex-ballplayer in the booth. That word, “ex,” was an abomination to him. He never wanted to be seen as an “ex” anything. If you were living as an ex, you were not living in real time.

Sad news, indeed. Sounds like Splittorff was a good man.

Categories:  1: Featured  Bronx Banter  Obituaries

Tags:  Joe Posnanski  paul splittorff

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1 rbj   ~  May 26, 2011 5:20 pm

Condolences to the family.

2 imaginaryrob   ~  May 26, 2011 5:22 pm

nice one, Al

3 joe   ~  May 26, 2011 11:08 pm

I have never heard about Paul Splittorff before, but he sounds like an awesome person. What a nice obituary.

Great windup, too

4 Chyll Will   ~  May 27, 2011 1:36 am

[3] Almost El Duque-ish, in fact. If it wasn't for watching El Duque pitch live with the bottom of his cleats nearly stomping the brim of his cap in mid-windup, I would swear this picture was Photoshopped; can't believe the things people can make their bodies do.

5 Alex Belth   ~  May 27, 2011 8:53 am

3) He owned Reggie Jax. So much so that Reggie was benched in Game 5 of the ALCS in 1977. He pinch hit later in the game, got a bloop RBI single and the Yanks went to the Serious and the rest is history. But in the deciding game of the ALCS, Reggie was sitting cause he couldn't hit Splittorff worth a shit.

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