Kaat looks to Veterans for Hall bid
Southpaw won 283 games in 25-year Major League career
Longevity is something that every baseball player hopes for in his career, but for Jim Kaat, the fact that his big league career spanned a remarkable 25 seasons might actually be a hindrance.A hindrance for Kaat's Hall of Fame chances, that is. Despite recording 283 victories and being regarded as one of the best defensive pitchers to ever play the game, Kaat is once again waiting to see if this is the year when he finally earns a trip to Cooperstown. Kaat is one of 10 players to be considered for the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. Any player receiving at least 75 percent of the vote from the Veterans Committee, which consists of the 64 living Hall of Famers, will be enshrined as part of the Class of 2009. Results from the Veterans Committee vote will be revealed at 1 p.m. ET on MLB.com on Monday from baseball's Winter Meetings in Las Vegas.
The other members of the post-1943 Veterans Committee final ballot are Dick Allen, Gil Hodges, Tony Oliva, Al Oliver, Vada Pinson, Ron Santo, Luis Tiant, Joe Torre and Maury Wills.This year will mark Kaat's third time on the Veterans Committee ballot. After his 15 years of eligibility on the Hall of Fame balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America ended in 2003, Kaat was also passed over by the Veterans Committee in 2005 and 2007. However, he received the second-most votes in that '07 polling, falling just short of the 75 percent mark with his 63.4 percent total. Kaat holds the unique distinction of having pitched in four different decades in the Major Leagues, as his career spanned from 1959-83 with the Senators, Twins, White Sox, Phillies, Yankees and Cardinals. The left-hander holds a lifetime record of 283-237 with a 3.45 ERA. Over that span, he had three 20-win seasons, which included a career-high 25 victories for Minnesota in 1966. That was the year that Kaat threw 19 complete games and three shutouts, posted a 2.75 ERA and had just 55 walks in more than 300 innings. A three-time All-Star, Kaat earned a World Series ring as a reliever with St. Louis in 1982. But if there was anything that made Kaat stand out from other pitchers, it was his ability to field his position. Kaat won 16 consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 1962-77. Only Greg Maddux owns more Gold Gloves in his career, having tallied 18 total.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.