Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
5. Paul Splittorff
Paul Splittorff was a part of the Kansas City Royals first ever MLB Amateur Draft, selected in the 25th round in 1968. Little could the Royals have realized at the time that they would have drafted a pitcher who would spend virtually the rest of his life as a member of the franchise.
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During his playing days, Splittorff was known for his high leg kick, using that distinctive feature of his windup to help provide a manner of deception to his delivery. Later, following his playing career, he served as a broadcaster for the Royals, a role he had until his death in 2011 from throat cancer and melanoma.
A look at the Royals record books would show Splittorff’s place in team history. He finished with a 166-143 record, with his win total the highest in Royals team history. His 2554.2 innings is also a team record, during which time Splittorff produced a 3.81 ERA and a 1.340 WHiP, marks that were about league average during his career.
Paul Splittorff was not overpowering by any stretch of the imagination, striking out under four batters per nine innings, but he was remarkably effective. His ability to generate weak contact and fool the opponent earned him a place among the best Royals pitchers of all time.
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