Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Baseball and deaths in the family

Baseball has its history and its family secrets.  That's what makes it such a special game and sets it apart from every other sport.  We've paid an increasing amount of attention to the NFL, which at least goes back to before World War II, but basketball is still in its infancy, historically speaking, and hockey is trying to get an American audience to pay attention.

When you have a big family, with members that are aging, it's inevitable there will be surprises, tragedies, and death.  Last week Harmon Killebrew, the great slugging third baseman of the Minnesota Twins died.  There was no fan of the game that missed Killebrew's passing.  He was a Twins hero who could hit the ball a mile, a hall of famer, a former MVP.  Every baseball fan knows him, few Twins fans emerged from hearing the news dry-eyed. 

He didn't have a flaming fastball, or a searing slider, or even a sneaky curve, but for 15 years Paul Splittorff was a good pitcher for the Kansas City Royals.
Today the news of Paul Splittorff's death came across the wire.  Splittorff was not a Hall of Famer, but he was a very good pitcher for 15 years with the Kansas City Royals.  His record was 166-143 with a 3.81 ERA.  His years with the team included some of the most memorable competition with the Yankees in the playoffs in the 70's and early 80's. They were good teams with good players:  George Brett, Willie Wilson, Amos Otis, Frank White, John Mayberry.  His stablemates were good too-Dennis Leonard, Larry Gura, Steve Busby, and the always amusing Dan Quisenberry, were a good staff.  His death, at age 64, of complications from melanoma, is shocking, and that his passing was so private contributed to my surprise when I heard the news.

I had hoped to remember players like Splittorff, as well as Killebrew on this blog, but I've done a crappy job.  I plan to do better,

1 comment:

Ed the THW Guy said...

Not a mention on Sports Center. How sad. I used to follow the Royals back in the day.