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02/17/07 10:00 AM ET
Consistency, longevity key Kaat's career
Former hurler among 27 candidates on veterans ballot
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Despite recording 283 victories over a career that spanned a remarkable 25 seasons, pitcher Jim Kaat spent 15 years on the Hall of Fame ballot without being voted in. But the Baseball Writers Association of America passed over Kaat each year until his eligibility finally ended in 2003. His first bid on the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee ballot in 2005 was also unsuccessful. In 2007, the left-hander is getting another chance at a ticket to Cooperstown as one of 27 players and 15 managers, executives and umpires who are candidates for election by the Hall's veterans. In the Major Leagues from 1959-83 with the Senators, Twins, White Sox, Phillies, Yankees and Cardinals, Kaat was 283-237 lifetime with a 3.45 ERA. Currently 29th on the all-time victories list, he had three 20-win seasons, which included a career-high 25 victories for Minnesota in 1966. He was also a three-time All-Star and earned his lone World Series ring as a reliever with St. Louis in 1982. Kaat is also listed as 13th all-time with 625 games started and 24th all-time with 4,530 innings pitched. One of the best all-time defensive players at his position, Kaat won 16 consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 1962-77. He is tied with former Orioles third baseman Brooks Robinson for most Gold Gloves in a career. The Hall of Fame's Veterans Committee electorate is made up of 84 members, including the 61 living Hall of Fame players. Candidates must receive 75 percent of the vote to be elected, which is no easy feat. No candidate received enough votes for election in 2003 or 2005. The Hall of Fame will reveal the results of this year's election on Feb. 27 with enshrinement day scheduled for July 29 in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.