First off, Kit Pellow is one of my favorite all time players.
I know that might be silly, but I have a good reason: I remember opening up packs of Topps cards and getting his rookie, and every time thinking to myself “Kit. Huh. He does not look like a Kit”.
Then, a few years later, I worked for the Omaha Royals, where Pellow was easily the best hitter on the team. I was in full dork out mode though, since he was the first player that I ever met who I first saw on a real baseball card. I remember his last game with the O-Royals was nice–there was a little ceremony–but I remember being genuinely bummed out that he was leaving.
Pellow was drafted in the 22nd Round of the 1996 MLB Draft by the Royals. A college bat, he moved quickly through the organization and got to AAA by 1998. He dominated AAA pitching, averaging 26 HR a season and a ~.290 average. The problem was strikeouts, which he had way too many of. But, I would argue that the power more than made up for it.
He would get a cup of coffee in 2002 with the Royals, with a .644 OPS, .342 OBP with 1 HR and 21 K’s to 9 walks in 63 AB. I think those numbers are pretty fair: his power plays really well in AAA, but Major League pitchers should have been able to exploit any holes in his swing and up his K’s–while sapping his power. Still, Pellow seemed like a smart hitter and I like to think with an extended look he would have adapted as well.
Fun note: I like in the movie “Moneyball” you can see that Pellow was playing in the A’s 20th win game. I like knowing that there is some actor with “Kit Pellow” on his resume.
That would be the last season with the Kansas City organization, leaving for the 2003 season as age 28.
From 2003 to 2005 Pellow would play with the Rockies and Seattle, putting up excellent AAA numbers with some call ups peppered in. His time with the Rockies big league club in 2003 was impressive: 1.365 OPS, .476 OBP with 1 HR, 4 K’s and no walks in 18 at bats.
He would join the Seattle AAA club in 2005, but only for four games. He would then sign on to play in Korea (Lotte Giants, Pusan). In 2006 he would play in Mexico with the Saraperos de Saltillo, and would put up great numbers. He would hit with power (20+ HR a season), getting on base at near a .400 clip, and improving him BB/K ratio. He hit so well in 2008 (40 HR, 125 RBI, .367 AVG, .440 OBP) that he won the leagues MVP title.
Starting in 2009 he would bounce around some more, still playing in Mexico but joining some Independent League teams. His last season was 2010.
At this point I want to back it up.
In 2000 Rick Reilly wrote a piece in Sports Illustrated called “The ‘roid To Ruin”. In it, he talks about the growing problem of steroids in baseball. This is 2000, so at this time people were happy to still ignore it…Major League Baseball most of all…so they probably did not appreciate this quote from Pellow:
First baseman Kit Pellow of the Omaha Golden Spikes, the Kansas City Royals’ Triple A affiliate, says, “I’ve seen a lot of guys do it right in front of me. Right in the hotel room. A guy will get out his needle and stick it right in his butt. They don’t care if I see. There’s no testing in this sport.” (source)
I have written to Kit Pellow once a year to get his autograph, and every year I get an RTS. I will sending out again here in a couple weeks. I am not expecting much. The autograph above I got from a collector who sent it TTM while he was still active in the states.
I got him a couple times while working for the team, but I only have one piece left. But it is a good one–a picture I took. I have another of him, mid swing, hitting a double. having trouble finding that one.