Phillies: Great players you forgot played in Philadelphia
Jim Kaat (1976-79)
One of the great pitchers of his era, Jim Kaat‘s time in Philadelphia is largely forgotten, likely because he’s best known for his 15 seasons as a Minnesota Twin.
At the age of 20, Katt made his major league debut for the Washington Senators in 1959. It went about as bad as you could expect for Kaat, giving up nine runs in five innings over three games. His second season was just as rough, finishing with a 1-5 record and a 5.58 ERA in 13 games.
When the Senators moved to Minnesota and became the Twins, Kaat’s career began to take a turn for the better. For the next 15 seasons he won at least 10 games and in seven straight seasons he won at least 14 games.
In 1966 with the Twins Kaat led the league with 25 wins, 19 of which were complete games. That feat led to him finishing in fifth for the American League MVP.
After 190 wins over 15 seasons with the Senators/Twins and a year removed from having a 2.06 ERA, Kaat was waived and picked up by the White Sox. Two years later on December 10, 1975, Kaat was traded by the White Sox with Mike Buskey to the Philadelphia Phillies for Alan Bannister, Dick Ruthven, and Roy Thomas.
Pitching at 37-years-old in 1976, Kaat had another strong season with 12 wins in 38 games and a 3.48 ERA. Over the next four seasons in Philadephia Kaat would win 27 games, mostly as a starter.
Kaat would finish his career as a reliever for the Yankees and Cardinals before retiring with 283 wins and 16 Gold Gloves.
In 2003 Kaat received only 26.2% of the Hall of Fame votes on his final year of eligibility. Twice he’s been considered by the Golden Era committee, but both times he’s failed to receive enough votes.