(Yonhap) — Former San Francisco Giants manager Roger Craig, who popularized the “splitter,” a pitch popularized by Major League Baseball (MLB) pitchers in the 1980s, has died. He was 93 years old.
The New York Times (NYT) reported on Friday (local time) that Craig passed away the day before in San Diego. According to his family, he had a short illness before his death.
He entered the MLB in 1955 and had an unremarkable 74-98 record through 1966, but after turning to coaching, he left his mark on baseball history as the “splitter’s evangelist.
While serving as manager of the San Diego Padres in the late 1970s, he taught pitchers to throw a “split-finger fastball” (splitter) with the ball sandwiched between the index and middle fingers.
The splitter, which flies like a fastball after leaving the pitcher’s hand and then drops suddenly in front of the batter, had been in the major leagues since the early 20th century, but it wasn’t a commonly used pitch.
But when Craig started teaching pitchers about the splitter, the power of the pitch began to be recognized in the major leagues.
Jack Morris, who learned the splitter from the Detroit Tigers, where Craig was pitching coach, became a key contributor to Detroit’s 스포츠토토 1984 World Series victory.
The splitter’s popularity was sparked when Mike Scott, a mediocre pitcher for the Houston Astros, was transformed into one of the league’s best aces with the splitter.
Scott went 5-11 in 1984, but transformed into an 18-win pitcher the following year with the splitter.
He also won the 1986 Cy Young Award, the highest honor for pitchers.
But the splitter, which had become a favorite pitcher’s gadget, gradually disappeared from baseball after it was discovered that it was hard on pitchers’ arms.
Craig led San Francisco to the National League pennant in 1989, but went down on his knees in the World Series.
He retired from baseball after the 1992 season.