We say happy # 78 to Jim Kaat, a great lefty who later became a wonderful baseball analyst.
Kaat broke with the Washington Senators in 1959. He became a starter in 1961 now that the team was in Minnesota. He pitched 15 years with the Twins and won 190 games with a 3.34 ERA. He won 25 in 1966 and was named AL Sporting News Pitcher of the Year.
Kaat beat Sandy Koufax in game 2 of the 1965 World Series. Later, he started games in the 1969 & 1970 ALCS.
Surprisingly, the Twins moved him to the Chicago White Sox and won 45 with a 3.10 ERA in 3 seasons. It was probably his best pitching period of his career.
Kaat hung around until 1983. He finished with 283 wins, a 3.45 ERA and completed 180 games.
Why isn’t a 283-game winner in the Hall of Fame? I don’t have an answer. Nevertheless, Jim Kaat was one of the reliable arms in baseball for 20 years.
After baseball, Jim Kaat moved to the radio/TV booth and became one of the best game analysts.