The American League win leader in 1977, Leonard pitched for 12 years in a career shortened by injuries. He posted 144 wins in those 12 seasons, while pitching exclusively for the Kansas City Royals. He won 15 games in 1975, then another 17 in 1976. In 1977 he won 20 games while striking out 244 hitters to finish fourth in the AL Cy Young vote. Leonard won 21 more games in 1978 and finished seventh in the Cy Young. He was a 20-game winner again in 1980, becoming the only Royals’ pitcher to ever post three 20-win seasons. He led the AL in starts three different times and was the league leader in innings pitched in 1981. However, injuries began to take their toll on him starting in 1982. He pitched in just 21 games that year then saw action in only 10 games in 1983. He missed the 1984 season completely and pitched in just two games in 1985. Leonard returned to the Royals’ rotation in 1986, making 30 starts while going 8-13. He retired following the season.
Leonard returned to the Royals on April 12, 1986 at home agains the Blue Jays. He pitched a complete game shutout to lead Kansas City to a 1-0 win.
Leonard pitched in the postseason five times for the Royals. He made two starts in the 1981 World Series and won one of them. Kansas City lost the series to the Philadelphia Phillies. Leonard was injured in 1985, the year the Royals won the World Series, and did not participate in the playoffs.
When he retired, Leonard was Kansas City’s career leader in complete games (103) and shutouts (23). He is a member of the team’s Hall of Fame.
Dennis Leonard – career stats