KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Paul Splittorff, the big, blonde left-hander who became the winningest pitcher in Kansas City Royals history and a popular broadcaster for the team, died Wednesday of complications from skin cancer. He was 64. The Royals said Splittorff died at his home in the Kansas City suburb of Blue Springs, Mo. His family announced 10 days ago that he had been battling melanoma and oral cancer. "This is a very difficult day for our organization," Royals owner and CEO David Glass said. "We will not only miss the insight and humour that he injected into every telecast, but most importantly we will miss his friendship. He epitomized class." The Royals said the team will wear a memorial patch on the sleeve of their jerseys the rest of the season. Fans noticed on opening day in 2009 that his speech had become slurred, though Splittorff kept his health issues private until his plight was reported by online columnist Greg Hall. "He didnt want anyone to feel sorry for him," Royals broadcaster Ryan Lefebvre said. Drafted by the expansion Royals in the 25th round in 1968, Splittorff spent his entire 15-year career in Kansas City. A tall, bespectacled lefty with a high leg kick, he often appeared to squint into the catchers mitt as though he was having trouble seeing the sign. This sometimes proved disconcerting to hitters who wondered if they should be ready to bail out if the ball came flying toward their head. He retired during the 1984 season with a club-record 166 victories. "When youve known somebody for so long and theyve been such a big part of your life, its never easy to say goodbye," Frank White, the Royals eight-time Gold Glove-winning second baseman, told The Associated Press. "Our kids went to the same schools and grew up together. I have so many memories of Paul." Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett called Splittorffs death a tremendous loss for the community and the team. "He helped put the Kansas City Royals on the map and was such a great player for so many years," Brett told KMBZ radio. "He wasnt a real boisterous guy in the clubhouse. He just went about his work quietly and let everybody else get the headlines." Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said Splittorff had represented the Royals "with great class." "I am deeply saddened by the loss of Paul Splittorff, a lifetime Royal who was beloved by the fans of Kansas City and respected throughout our game," Selig said. "I admired his devotion to his craft for many years, especially when he played a key role in helping the Royals reach their first World Series in 1980." Splittorff was born in Evansville, Ind., and raised in Arlington Heights, Ill. A two-sport star in baseball and basketball at Morningside College in Iowa, he made his major league debut on Sept. 23, 1970, and soon became a mainstay in the rotation. His best year was 1973 when he went 20-11, the Royals first 20-game winner. Splittorff was not a hard thrower but had command of several pitches and always prepared carefully for every outing. "He really got the most out of his ability," said Denny Matthews, the Royals radio broadcaster who called every major league game Splittorff pitched and became his close friend. In 15 seasons, Splittorff was 166-143 with a 3.81 ERA. He also holds the Royals record for starts (392) and innings pitched (2,554 2-3). Royals manager Ned Yost remembered facing Splittorff as a hitter for Milwaukee. "He was a fierce competitor and always had good stuff," Yost said. "Always well prepared. And he was like that here as a broadcaster. He was a guy that did his homework every single day." Splittorff was particularly effective in the Royals memorable playoff battles with the New York Yankees in the 1970s and 80s. In seven post-season games, he was 2-0 with a 2.79 ERA. He was also teased by former teammates for holding the informal record of giving up the longest home run in Kauffman Stadium history -- a shot by Chicago White Sox slugger Dick Allen that carried almost to the top of the hill behind left field. "Some people say Bo Jackson hit one farther," White said with a grin. "Bos was higher, but Dick Allens was all the way to the back of the hill. Paul got to where he could laugh about it, too." Splittorff lacked the natural talent of many of the top pitchers in Royals history, such as Steve Busby and Cy Young winners David Cone and Bret Saberhagen. But the fact he retired with more victories than any of the others is a testament to the iron-willed work ethic that characterized both his baseball and broadcasting careers. "Paul didnt have that electric slider or that devastating curveball," White said. "But he was always steady and he always studied, always worked hard to do his very best. Thats why he was so successful both on and off the field." Even before he retired, Splittorff was preparing for a broadcasting career, covering high school football and basketball games for a local radio station. At the time of his death, he was in his 24th season as a television analyst for FOX Sports Kansas City despite the speech problems that cropped up a couple years ago. White took over for him full time after opening day in 2009. Though he did pre- and post-game shows, Splittorff was never able to regain the clear, distinct voice fans had known for more than two decades. But he never quit trying. "There was never a day where he just leaned on being Paul Splittorff," Lefebvre said. Splittorff is survived by his wife, Lynn, daughter, Jennifer, and son, Jamie. The club said visitation would be held next Monday at First United Methodist Church in Blue Springs and a funeral mass was scheduled for the following day at 11 a.m. in St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church in Blue Springs. Splittorff gave a moving eulogy for Dick Howser when the former Royals manager died of a brain tumour in 1987. Now, to a legion of friends and fans, his closing comment may seem especially poignant. "He has completed his journey," he said then. "Our skipper is safe at home." NBA China Jerseys
. The Liverpool captain had netted in the 87th minute at Anfield in a match his team would lose 3-1 to lowly Aston Villa. Cheap Jerseys
.ca looks back at 10 memorable storylines from the history of the event in 10 days. http://www.cheapchinajerseys.biz/. The Canadiens announced Thursday that the veteran defenceman has signed a US$17.25-million, three-year deal with the club that will see Markov in a Montreal uniform through the 2013-14 season. China Jerseys
. Wenger took part in his first training session in Montreal on Saturday but returned to school immediately after the session. Ahead of Januarys MLS SuperDraft in Kansas City, the versatile Wenger made it known that he wanted to finish his studies at Duke rather than go straight into full-time professional soccer. Cheap China Jerseys
. 21-year-old rookie Jake Gardiner is seemingly never tired, despite the heavy minutes hes logging this season for the Leafs.MONTREAL -- The injuries endured this season by the Ottawa Senators might have done in any other team. But the Senators say that sticking to their system and making it work is what got them into the NHL playoffs for a second year in a row. The Senators lost their first-line centre Jason Spezza only five games into the lockout-shortened season, then lost their top defenceman and power play point man Erik Karlsson only 14 games in. Then their No. 1 goalie Craig Anderson was lost for 20 games, while winger Milan Michalek also missed major stretches. And second year rearguard Jared Cowan got hurt during the lockout and missed the first 41 of the 48-game campaign. The Senators hunkered down, won a lot of low-scoring games, and made it in as the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. And now they have everyone back except Spezza for their first round playoff series against the second-place Montreal Canadiens. Captain Daniel Alfredsson said the key was avoiding the temptation to change their game to make up for the missing pieces. "We really didnt change much as far as strategy goes," Alfredsson said Thursday as the team prepared for the opening game of their best-of-seven series with the Canadiens. "We still wanted to be a forechecking team that skated a lot. "Credit goes to the guys who stepped up and played in place of the guys who were injured and filled those roles really good. We play the same style, so whenever a guy comes in they know what to expect." The immediate effect of losing top offensive players like Spezza and Karlsson was that they didnt score a lot of goals. Ottawa ranked 27th in the 30-team league with an average of 2.33 goals per game. They made up for that with tight defence. They conceded only 2.08 goals per game, second only to the Chicago Blackhawks at 2.02. And they had the NHLs best penalty killing with an 88.0 per cent success rate. "We kept our game simple," said Anderson, who returned April 7 after missing 20 games with an ankle injury. "Everyone knew their role. "We didnt stray from thatt.dddddddddddd Guys found what worked for them and did it. No one tried to do anybody elses job. No one tried to do too much. We did a good job all year of finding ways to win regardless of who was in the lineup and who wasnt." Every team talks about sticking to their system, but few teams do it as patiently and with as much consistency as coach Paul MacLeans Senators. "Structure is a big part of every team in the league," MacLean said. "What it gives you is a place to go to when youre under the gun. "A big part of it is being able to stick to the structure of your game when things arent going your way. Thats how you get it back." The six-foot-five Cowan suffered a hip injury that required surgery while playing in the American Hockey League during the lockout and was thought to be done for the season. But the 22-year-old returned April 16 and played the final seven games of the regular season. Karlsson, last seasons Norris Trophy winner, was also thought to be gone until next season when he suffered a deep cut to an Achilles tendon from Matt Cookes skate against Pittsburgh on Feb. 13. But the slick rearguard was back for the final three games. Spezza, who did not make the trip to Montreal, is still rehabbing from back surgery and it is not known if he will return in the playoffs. Having them back wont change the Senators into band of flashy goal-scorers, but it should help a lot in getting the goals they need. "Our mentality doesnt change," MacLean said. "We still had the same structure, the same work ethic and expectations. Theyre the same whoever is in the lineup. "What the (returning) injured players give us is a better quality of players. And that improves the quality of the team." MacLean looks to have tweaked his defence pairings going into the series, pairing six-foot-five Cowan with six-foot-three Eric Gryba. They could be a tough duo for Montreals mainly smaller forwards to deal with. Asked what prompted the move, MacLean only smiled and said: "I have to look up at them. I like that." ' ' '