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Twins say goodbye to pitching great Jim 'Mudcat' Grant

Grant played in the record-setting 1965 regular season, and played against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the '65 World Series.
Credit: AP
Right-handed pitcher Jim "Mudcat" Grant of the Minnesota Twins is pictured, June 21, 1964 (AP Photo/Gene Herrick)

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins and the world of baseball are saying a very fond farewell to pitching great Jim "Mudcat" Grant, who died at the age of 85.

The team says Grant helped lead the Twins to victory across the American League, becoming the first Black pitcher in MLB history to win 20 games within a single season.

Grant played a pivotal roll in the franchise's foundational years, playing in the record-setting 1965 regular season, where the Twins went 102-60, a franchise best, before a stinging loss against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the '65 World Series. 

During his four year stint with the team, Grant finished on a 50-35 record, with a 3.35 ERA, across 111 starts.

“The Minnesota Twins are deeply saddened by the loss of Jim ‘Mudcat’ Grant, a key part of the franchise’s early years in Minnesota and linchpin of the starting rotation on the record-setting 1965 club," the organization said in a Saturday press release.

Grant made his MLB debut with the Cleveland Indians in 1958, before joining the Twins in '64, and subsequently joining the Los Angeles Dodgers in '67.

Grant not only leaves behind a legacy as a ball player, but as an advocate for Black participation in baseball. The Twins say he spent the latter years of his life in activism, and wrote a book titled "The Black Aces", telling the tales of MLB's first Black 20-game winners.

"Though he spent just four years of his 14-year career with the Twins, Mudcat remained a beloved member of our organization well into his retirement and was a frequent visitor with fans and staff alike at TwinsFest," the Twins organization says. "We send our condolences to the entire Grant family, as well as the other organizations impacted by his 60-plus years in and around the baseball world.”