Minnesota Twins: The 40 Best Players In Team History (No. 11-15)
No. 12: Jim Kaat (30.7 WAR)
Jim Kaat‘s career in the majors spanned from 1959 to 1983. His longevity was incredible. His time with the Twins lasted from 1961 to 1973 (not counting the Washington Senators years). Kaat was an All-Star talent with one of the best gloves on the mound. His value to the Twins was high.
Kaat’s best statistical year came in 1966 when he went 25-13 with a 2.75 ERA in a whopping 304.2 innings pitched. He went to the All-Star Game that season, won his fifth of twelve straight Gold Glove Awards and finished fifth in the MVP voting. It was also his best season in a Twins uniform according to wins above replacement. He posted 4.5 WAR.
During his time with the Twins, Kaat won 189 games, good for first all-time in Twins history. He is also fifth in ERA, first in games started, second in complete games, second in shutouts, first in innings pitched, and second in strikeouts. He is, arguably, the best pitcher in Twins history according to his places in the Twins record books.
Not only was he a great pitcher, but he could field his position better than almost anyone. His 16 career Gold Gloves is second to Greg Maddux, who won 18. His combination of effective pitching and great defense nearly landed him in the Hall of Fame. He will be eligible again through the Veteran’s Committee in 2018.
With such a career, it is no wonder Jim Kaat is so high on this list. He is a Minnesota Twins Hall of Famer, and next year he could be a Baseball Hall of Famer. Only time will tell.