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James Lee "Jim" Kaat (born November 7, 1938 in Zeeland, Michigan), nicknamed "Kitty", is a former pitcher in Major League Baseball for the Washington Senators (I)/Minnesota Twins (1959–1973), Chicago White Sox (1973–1975), Philadelphia Phillies (1976–1979), New York Yankees (1979–1980), and St. Louis Cardinals (1980–1983). After a brief stint as a pitching coach for the Cincinnati Reds, he then became a sportscaster.
Kaat attended Hope College in Holland, Michigan, and pitched on the school team there. He was signed by the Washington Senators as an amateur free agent in 1957, and moved west with the team in 1961 when they became the Minnesota Twins.
Kaat was a member of the 1965 Twins team that won the American League pennant. He started three games in the 1965 World Series, matching up with Sandy Koufax on all three occasions, including a complete game victory in Game 2.
His best season was in 1966, when he won a league-leading 25 games. He finished fifth in the MVP voting and was named the American League Pitcher of the Year by The Sporting News. The National League's Sandy Koufax won the Cy Young Award by a unanimous vote; it was the last year in which only one award was given for both leagues. Kaat was primarily a starting pitcher until 1979, when he became a relief pitcher.
Kaat was an All-Star three times (1962, 1966, 1975), and won the Gold Glove Award for defensive skill a record 16 consecutive times (1962-1977). With the Cardinals in 1982, Kaat earned his only World Series ring working in four games out of the bullpen. In 1983 he became the last major league player to have played in the 1950s and the last "original" (pre-Twins) Washington Senator player to retire.
Upon retirement, he served a short stint with the Cincinnati Reds as the club's pitching coach. When Pete Rose took over in 1984 as the Reds' player/manager, he made good on a promise to Kaat, his former Philadelphia Phillies teammate, and hired the former hurler for his coaching staff. Kaat would coach part of the 1984 season and all of 1985, a year in which he guided Cincinnati rookie Tom Browning to a 20-9 record. "At least I can say I had a 20-game winner every year I coached", Kaat used to joke.
CBS and ABCEdit
Kaat has also had a career as a broadcaster after retiring from baseball. From 1990-1993, Kaat served as an analyst for CBS television, teaming with Dick Stockton and then, Greg Gumbel in 1993; Kaat covered three World Series Trophy presentations for CBS (1990-1992). In 1993, he in filled for Lesley Visser when she had the bizarre jogging accident in New York's Central Park she filled in for Visser until Late August when she returned to the baseball world. In 1995, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for "On Camera Achievement." Also in 1995, Kaat called the American League playoffs with Brent Musburger for ABC.
New York YankeesEdit
In addition, he was on the team which won the "Outstanding Live Sports Coverage - Single Program" New York Emmy for covering Dwight Gooden's no-hitter and David Wells' perfect game. He also won an Emmy for on-air achievement in 2006.
He served two stints as an announcer for Yankees games on WPIX and the MSG Network/YES Network (1986 and 1994–2006), where his straight-shooting style was much in the mode of former Yankees broadcasters Tony Kubek and Bill White. In between, he spent six years (1988–1993) as an announcer for the Twins.
In an on-air broadcast on September 10, 2006 with booth partner Ken Singleton, Kaat acknowledged his plan to end his broadcasting career. His final appearance in the booth was to be a Yankee-Red Sox game on September 15, 2006 (Kaat was also set to throw out the first pitch). However, the game was postponed due to rain. Kaat later announced that he was going to record a special farewell message to the fans, but would not return for any additional broadcasts. However, the following day, Kaat did announce one full inning of the first game of Saturday September 16's double header on FOX along with Tim McCarver and Josh Lewin. During that FOX telecast he was able to say goodbye to the Yankee fans, an opportunity that the previous night's rainout had deprived him of doing on the YES Network.
Kaat made a special one-inning appearance, during the third inning, on the YES Network on June 30, 2008 during a Yankees–Rangers game. He also had a telephone conference live, during a Yankees-Blue Jays game on July 13, 2008, to discuss the recent death of Bobby Murcer.
- List of Major League Baseball leaders in career wins
- List of Major League Baseball wins champions
- MLB All-Time Hit Batsmen List
- Top 100 strikeout pitchers of all time
- MLB all-time leaders in home runs by pitchers
- Chicago White Sox all-time roster
- Tom Browning and Dann Stupp (2006). Tom Browning's Tales from the Reds Dugout. Sports Publishing LLC. ISBN 1-59670-046-7
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
- Baseball Hall of Fame: Kaat's Career a Study in Consistency
- 2007 Baseball Hall of Fame candidate profile at the Internet Archive
- Jim Kaat to the Hall of Fame? - article supporting the case of electing Jim Kaat to the Hall of Fame
- - Yes Network section on his retirement
- Kaat's meow: Signing off after 25 memorable years behind mike
- Jim Kaat Retirement Baseball's Loss
- Arguments for inducting Jim Kaat into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
|Awards and achievements|
|American League Wins Champion|
Jim Lonborg & Earl Wilson
|American League Gold Glove Award (P)|
|National League Gold Glove Award (P)|