When today’s generation thinks of Jim Kaat, they think of him as a fixture on the MLB Network. What some fans may not know is that Kaat was one of the best pitchers in baseball during his playing days and put together a tremendous career that lasted long enough to see him pitch to Ted Williams and Julio Franco.
During his 15 seasons in a Twins uniform, Kaat threw 3,014 1/3 innings and came away with a record of 190-159 and a 3.34 ERA. His best seasons may have come in the mid-60s as he helped the Twins capture their first American League pennant in 1965 (and battled Sandy Koufax in Game 7 of the 1965 World Series) and led the league with 25 wins in 1966.
What really set Kaat’s playing career apart was his ability to field his position. In his 25-year career, Kaat racked up 16 Gold Glove Awards which is tied for the most of any player in MLB history along with Baltimore’s Brooks Robinson. While the Twins traded Kaat to the Chicago White Sox in the 1973 season, he would go on to play 11 more seasons before retiring in 1984.
Kaat’s notoriety has begun to gain steam as he was named on the Golden Era ballot in 2015, but still hasn’t made his way into Cooperstown. With his work in the broadcasting booth adding some value, it’s possible that Kaat could find his way to the hall in the near future.