Nearly a quarter century after being lost on waivers to the Chicago White Sox in August 1973, Jim Kaat is returning to the Twins as a special assistant.
Set to turn 80 later this year, the left-hander with 283 career victories in the major leagues remains active as a TV analyst for the MLB and YES networks. A 16-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner, Kaat is the namesake of the Twins’ Defensive Player of the Year, an award instituted in 2012.
Kaat was expected to be at TwinsFest this weekend.
“The Twins organization is thrilled to have Jim Kaat back on board,” Twins president and CEO Dave St. Peter said. “Jim’s history with this franchise as well as our game is rich and legendary.”
Kaat, who makes his home in Stuart, Fla., joins National Baseball Hall of Famers Rod Carew, Bert Blyleven and Jack Morris in his new role. Other Twins special assistants include Tony Oliva, Kent Hrbek and Tom Kelly. They assist the organization in various community and business initiatives, both in Minnesota as well as southwest Florida, where the team holds spring training.
On Wednesday the Twins formally announced the addition of former AL MVP Justin Morneau as the fourth special assistant to baseball operations. He joined former Twins teammates Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer and LaTroy Hawkins in that capacity.
Kaat also has more than 4,000 followers on his Twitter account (@KaatJim), where he describes himself as a “Baseball lifer. Golf enthusiast” and frequently expounds on the direction of modern pitching and baseball in general.
Kaat broke in with the Washington Senators in 1959 and went 190-159 with a 3.34 earned run average in more than 3,000 innings and 15 seasons with the Twins and Senators. He went 25-13 in 1966, leading the American League with 304 2/3 innings while completing 19 of 41 starts.
He finished fifth in AL MVP voting that year, one spot ahead of Oliva, but never finished higher than fourth (1975) in the Cy Young race. Kaat, who made three starts for the Twins in the 1965 World Series and four relief appearances against Paul Molitor’s Milwaukee Brewers in the 1982 World Series, retired at age 44 after spending the 1983 season with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Source: Mike Berardino