During his 50 years in baseball, Jim Kaat only participated in two of baseball's many functions. For the first twenty five years of his baseball career, he was a major league pitcher pitching for several of the major league clubs, and during the last 25 years of his baseball career he was an award winning major league baseball announcer and sportscaster.
Jim Kaat's baseball pitching career began with the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins and ended with the St. Louis Cardinals. He pitched for the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins from 1959 until 1973. He then spent three years, from 1973 to 1975, with the Chicago White Sox. From Chicago he went to the Philadelphia Phillies, from 1976 to 1979. Next was a short stint with the New York Yankees, from 1979 to 1980. His final baseball pitching team was the St. Louis Cardinals, where he pitched from 1980 to 1983, before retiring as a player.
Following Jim Kaat's active baseball player career as a pitcher, he tried coaching for a few years. However, he quickly decided that his future was in baseball broadcasting, and began a highly successful broadcasting career lasting for the next 22 years. Most of his baseball broadcasting was done for several organizations. During his broadcasting career he worked for NBC, ESPN, TBS, the Yankees Network, and other organizations.
Jim Kaat's most successful sports broadcasting period was on the Yankees Network during the 1997 to 2005 time period. During those eight years he won 7 New York Emmy Awards for excellence in sports broadcasting, for outstanding live sports coverage, and for on-camera achievement. Most of the Emmy awards were for outstanding live sports coverage.
As a baseball player, Jim Kaat won plaudits numerous times. His best season was in 1966, when he won a league leading 25 games, an accomplishment for which he won the American League Pitcher of the Year Award by The Sporting News. Kaat was an All Star player three times, in 1962, 1966 and 1975. Kaat also won the Gold Glove Award for defensive skill a record 16 times from 1962 to 1975.
At the time of his retirement as an active player, Jim Kaat's 25 year pitching career was the longest of any baseball pitcher in major league history. Jim Kaat set a record by having played during the administrations of seven United States presidents including Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald R. Ford Jr., Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Regan.
At the time of this writing, 2011, Jim Kaat was retired and lived in Florida. He still maintains an active blog at his own web site. During his retirement he wrote a best selling book entitled STILL PITCHING. He also started a sports management company, "Still Pitching" strictly for pitchers.
There is little doubt about Jim Kaat being a Dutch American. He was born on November 7, 1938, and grew up, in Zeeland, Michigan, a small town adjacent to Holland, Michigan. He attended Hope College in Holland, Michigan, but clearly did not stay there long enough to graduate.
At Hope College he pitched for the Flying Dutchmen Baseball Team. He clearly stood out as a pitcher because the then Washington Senators signed him as an amateur free agent in 1957, when he was only 18 years old. He began playing in the minor leagues during 1957 and 1958, when he was 18 and 19 years old respectively. And at age 20, in 1959 he broke into the major league as a baseball pitcher.
Jim Kaat clearly had difficulty maintaining a married life during the early years of his baseball career. His first two marriages, first to Julie and later to Linda ended in divorce. His third marriage, in the mid 1980's to Mary Ann was a success, and the couple remained married until Mary Ann's early death in 2008. The couple had four children and 6 grandchildren. Kaat married his fourth wife, Margie in 2009.
The Dutch American community in Western Michigan, centered around the cities of Holland and Zeeland can be proud of one of their fellow Dutchmen who did extremely well in two professional sports careers, baseball pitching and baseball broadcasting.
Jim Kaat's web site, http://Jimkaat.com
Jim Kaat, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Kaat
Jim Kaat, http://www.kosmix.com (link no longer active)
E-BOOKS AVAILABLE FROM AMAZON; GOOGLE: Kindle Store Pegels
PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICANS, CURRENT AND HISTORIC
EIGHT PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICAN FAMILIES: THE ROOSEVELTS, VANDERBILTS AND OTHERS, 2015
FIFTEEN PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICAN FAMILIES: THE VAN BURENS, KOCH BROTHERS, VOORHEES AND OTHERS, 2015
PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICANS IN U.S. GOVERNMENT LEADERSHIP POSITIONS, 2015
DUTCH PEGELS INVOLVED IN WARS
ALLIED EUROPE CAMPAIGN—1944/1945: TACTICAL MISTAKES, 2017
THE SECOND WORLD WAR IN THE NETHERLANDS: MEMOIRS, 2017
FRENCH REVOLUTION, NAPOLEON AND RUSSIAN WAR OF 1812, 2015