Sunday, February 16, 2020

1981 Topps Paul Splittorff

The front: Great action photo at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium. His only game there in 1980 was at night so this can safely be considered a night card. On July 14, 1980 Splittorff allowed four runs, all earned, in 7.1 innings as the Royals cruised past the Orioles, 8-4. Splittorff struck out four batters and only walked one.

The back: Baseball-reference lists the Yankees’ Don Gullett as the 1977 AL Winning Percentage leader. Gullett went 14-4 (.778), Splitorff went 16-6 (.727). I’m not sure what the official number of decisions is for a league leader.

The player: Paul Splittorff was a mainstay of the Royals pitching rotation for over a decade. He pitched for them from 1970, a year after the franchise’s debut, and retired in 1984, a year before they won the World Series. He is the team’s all-time leader in wins (166), innings (2544.2), and games started (392). His best season was 1978, when he went 19-13 with a 3.40 ERA. In seven playoff games he went 2-0 with a 2.79 ERA.

The man: After 15 years pitching for the Royals, Splittoff was a TV announcer for the team for another 24 years. He died of cancer in 2011.

My collection: I have 25 of his cards, from 1971 to 1984. I would be interested in trading for 1978 SSPC #230.

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