Former Royals pitcher Splittorff dies at 64

NEW YORK Wed May 25, 2011 1:13pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Paul Splittorff, who won more games than any other Kansas City Royals pitcher, died of complications from skin and oral cancer Wednesday, the American League club said. He was 64.

Splittorff, a bespectacled left-hander, spent his entire 15-year Major League Baseball career with the Royals, compiling a 166-143 record and 3.81 earned run average and was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame in 1987.

"He wasn't blessed with a 100 mph (160 km/h) fastball, he wasn't blessed with a Bert Blyleven curve, he wasn't blessed with a tremendous change-up, but he was blessed a good brain," said team mate and Hall of Famer George Brett.

"He knew how to pitch. He was blessed with a big heart and put it all on the line."

Splittorff, who became a Royals broadcaster following his retirement in 1984, was hospitalized on May 16 for treatment but had recently returned home to Blue Springs, Missouri.

The big left-hander, who became the club's first 20-game winner in 1973, played in four postseasons with the Royals, 1976-77-78 and in 1980 when he reached the World Series.

His postseason mark was 2-0 with a 2.79 ERA.

(Writing by Larry Fine, Editing by Julian Linden)

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