Jim Kaat

A card featuring Jim Kaat.

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.

At the time of his retirement, Kaat's 25-year career was the longest of any pitcher in major league history. He is now third all-time, behind Nolan Ryan's 27 seasons and Tommy John's 26 campaigns.


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.

Broadcasting careerEdit

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 19942006), 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 (19881993) 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.


He joined the TBS Sunday Baseball team, appearing in his first game on May 4, 2008.

See alsoEdit


  • Tom Browning and Dann Stupp (2006). Tom Browning's Tales from the Reds Dugout. Sports Publishing LLC. ISBN 1-59670-046-7

External linksEdit

Awards and achievements
Preceded by:
Mudcat Grant
American League Wins Champion
Succeeded by:
Jim Lonborg & Earl Wilson
Preceded by:
Frank Lary
American League Gold Glove Award (P)
Succeeded by:
Jim Palmer
Preceded by:
Andy Messersmith
National League Gold Glove Award (P)
Succeeded by:
Phil Niekro

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