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Dan Quisenberry
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Dan Quisenberry

Daniel Raymond Quisenberry (February 7, 1953 - September 30, 1998) was a Major League Baseball player, primarily as a star relief pitcher for the Kansas City Royals. He was known for his unusual pitching style and humorous quotes.

Considered a marginal prospect, "Quiz" didn't make his major league debut until mid-1979 at the age of 26. Then, in spring training in 1980, manager Jim Frey suggested he learn a three-quarter sidearm "submarine" style delivery from Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Kent Tekulve.

The experiment proved successful, and from 1980 to 1985, Quisenberry was the dominant relief pitcher in the American League, winning the Rolaids Relief Man Award in all but the strike-shortened 1981 season and finishing in the top five in voting for the Cy Young Award, again in all but 1981. Additionally, he won the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award in 1980 and 1982-1985.

Unlike many major-league closers, Quisenberry didn't throw an overpowering fastball and instead relied primarily on a slider and a sinker. He rarely struck hitters out, but had pinpoint control, so he walked hitters even less often. His 45 saves in 1983 was briefly a record, and Quisenberry was the first pitcher in major league history to save more than 40 games in a season twice in his career.

In 1983, the Royals signed Quisenberry to a lifetime contract, similar to the contract of George Brett. But he started losing effectiveness in 1986 and lost his closer's job. By 1988 he was a seldom-used pitcher in the Royals' bullpen and was released at mid-season. His effectiveness against left-handed hitters fading, Quisenberry pitched for a year and a half in specialized roles for the St. Louis Cardinals. He signed with the San Francisco Giants in 1990 but only pitched five games. Faced with serious injury for the first time in his career, Quisenberry retired.

After his baseball career ended, Quisenberry embarked on a second career as a poet, publishing three poems in 1995 and a book of poetry titled On Days Like This, posthumously, in 1999.

In December 1997, was diagnosed with brain cancer, the same disease that killed Dick Howser, his manager from 1981 to 1986. He died in Leawood, Kansas less than a year later.

Quotes

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