Frank R. Kitson
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 165 lb.
- Debut May 19, 1898
- Final Game July 22, 1907
- Born September 11, 1869 in Watson, MI USA
- Died April 13, 1930 in Allegan, MI USA
Frank Kitson played ten seasons in the big leagues, beginning at age 28. In 1899 he won 22 games while in 1901 and 1902 he won 19 games each year.
Kitson was born in Watson, MI and died in Allegan, MI. There are two towns named Watson in the state of Michigan, but he was presumably born in the one that is only a few miles away from Allegan in the far southwestern part of the state.
When Kitson broke into the majors in 1898, he presented a dilemma to his team. He was a good pitcher, with a 3.24 ERA and a record of 8-5. But he was also a good hitter, with a .314 batting average. That first season he appeared in 17 games as a pitcher and 11 as an outfielder. In spite of his potential as a hitter, after that year he was almost exclusively a pitcher.
Frank spent 1898 and 1899 with the Baltimore Orioles, a top team which finished far over .500 both years. The next three years, from 1900 to 1902, he was with with the Brooklyn Superbas, who won the pennant in 1900 and then were comfortably above .500 in 1901 and 1902.
After the 1902 season he jumped to the American League to play for the Detroit Tigers after first having been rumored to be joining the New York Highlanders. His first two years with the Tigers were a new experience for Frank, because he had never had a record under .500 and he had never pitched on a major league team which finished below .500. With the Tigers in 1903 and 1904, both happened each year. The following year, in 1905, the Tigers finished a few games over .500 while Frank was still a bit under .500.
1905 was a year in which Kitson was now 35 years old. One of his teammates on the 1905 Tigers was the youngster Ty Cobb, who at age 18 was approximately half as old as Kitson.
Frank closed out his major league career pitching a bit more than a year for the Washington Senators and then part of a season for the New York Highlanders. He also pitched part of 1907 for the minor league Minneapolis Millers, for whom he went 8-5. In 1908 he played for Kansas City while in 1909 he was with Racine.
He umpired one National League game in 1902.
- NL Saves Leader (1900)
- 15 Wins Seasons: 5 (1899-1903)
- 20 Wins Seasons: 1 (1899)
- 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 6 (1899-1903 & 1905)
- 300 Innings Pitched Seasons: 1 (1899)