Minnesota Twins: Former All-Star Jim “Mudcat” Grant dies at 85

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Former Minnesota Twins pitcher Jim 'Mudcat' Grant acknowledges the crowd against the Cleveland Indians. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
Former Minnesota Twins pitcher Jim 'Mudcat' Grant acknowledges the crowd against the Cleveland Indians. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /
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Former All-Star Jim “Mudcat” Grant passed away at the age of 85 on Saturday afternoon, marking the second former Minnesota Twins pitcher (after Mike Marshall) to pass away in the month of June:

Grant was a key member of the 1965 Twins team that won the pennant, posting a 21-7 record and a 3.30 ERA. He became the first Black pitcher to win 20 games in an MLB season that year and started three games in the World Series that year.

He won two of them, and lost one, finishing the Series with a 2.74 ERA. Though he only pitched in Minnesota for three and a half seasons, his iconic nickname and performance in ’65 made him a legend in Twins territory for years to come and he was included on the list of the Twins’ best pitchers of the decade.

His legacy on baseball was felt far further than just Minnesota. Mudcat Grant played his first game in 1958, eleven years after baseball first integrated, but faced an incredibly hard fight against racism in baseball, including from his own coach. Grant persevered through it all, and when his playing career was finished (and even a little before), Grant became an advocate for black ballplayers.

Grant put together and wrote a book on the Black Aces, the fifteen black pitchers who have won 20 games in the MLB: Himself, Vida Blue, Al Downing, Bob Gibson, Dwight Gooden, Ferguson Jenkins, Sam Jones, Don Newcombe, Mike Norris, David Price, J. R. Richard, CC Sabathia, Dave Stewart, Dontrelle Willis, and Earl Wilson.

His work made him one of the most respected former pitchers in baseball, and his broadcasting abilities (and singing voice) were legendary. Grant will be greatly missed, and the Twins and all of baseball mourn his passing.

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