Mudcat Grant
Given Name: James Timothy
Born: 1935
RHP 1958-71 Indians , Twins, Dodgers, Expos, Cardinals, A

Mudcat Grant's Teams1958 Cleveland Indians1959 Cleveland Indians1960 Cleveland Indians1961 Cleveland Indians1962 Cleveland Indians1963 Cleveland Indians1964 Cleveland Indians1964 Minnesota Twins1965 Minnesota Twins1966 Minnesota Twins1967 Minnesota Twins1968 Los Angeles Dodgers1969 St. Louis Cardinals1969 Montreal Expos1970 Oakland Athletics1970 Pittsburgh Pirates1971 Pittsburgh Pirates1971 Oakland Athletics
Mudcat Grant's Teammates
Led League in w 65
All-Star in 1965

IP W-L ERA
Career 2441 145-119 3.63
League CS 2 0-0 0.00
World Series 23 2-1 2.74
 

Books and articles about Mudcat Grant

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» Jim Grant from baseball-reference.com
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» Mudcat Grant from mlb.com (02/09/02)

Colorful Mudcat Grant was not only a 14-year ML pitcher, but a broadcaster and entertainer. He spent his first seven-plus seasons with the Indians, compiling a 67-63 record. He then reached his pinnacle with the 1965 pennant-winning Twins, leading the AL in victories and winning percentage (21-7, .750) and in shutouts (six). He defeated the Dodgers in the World Series opener 8-2, lost Game Four 7-2, and won Game Six 5-1, helping himself with a three-run homer. He worked mostly in relief after his trade to the Dodgers in November of 1967, and in 1969 recorded the expansion Expos' first win. With Oakland and Pittsburgh in 1970, he went 8-3 (1.87) with 24 saves. Sporting mutton chop sideburns, he was the lead singer of a group called "Mudcat and the Kittens." (ME)


FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY

» July 17, 1960: The Senators, losers of 10 straight to the Indians, sweep a pair from the Tribe, 3–2 and 5–3. The opening win is over Mudcat Grant, who had never lost to the Senators in 14 straight victories.
» September 9, 1961: On Whitey Ford Day at Yankee Stadium, Roger Maris hits his 56th homer, off Cleveland's Mudcat Grant, as the Yanks come from behind to win, 8–7, New York scores four in the 9th to enable Luis Arroyo to pick up his 12th relief win in a row.

» August 28, 1962: At Yankee Stadium, Mickey Mantle connects for a 2-run shot in the 4th off Mudcat Grant to give the Yanks a 2–1 win over the Indians.

» June 15, 1964: Cleveland sends P Jim Grant to Minnesota for P Lee Stange and 3B/OF George Banks.

» July 15, 1964: Minnesota's Mudcat Grant tosses a 6–0 shutout against the Senators, despite allowing 13 Nat hits. The record for most hits allowed in a 9–inning shutout is 14, done twice before.

» May 25, 1965: Nine different Twins (5) and Red Sox (4) hit home runs, tying a ML record. Minnesota wins the slugfest, 17–5. Boston's Gerry Moses, age 18 years and nine months, goes into the record books when he pinch hits his first homer, off Mudcat Grant. Moses is the youngest player to ever pinch hit a round tripper.

» September 20, 1965: Fewer fans (537) see the A's Jim "Catfish" Hunter beat Jim "Mudcat" Grant, 8–2, in Minnesota. Both contests are makeup games.

» September 25, 1965: The Twins Mudcat Grant one hits the Senators to win, 5–0. Don Blasingame's double in the 3rd is the only hit for Washington; it is the 4th time that Blasingame has collected the only hit for his team.

» October 6, 1965: Minnesota's 6-run 3rd inning routs Dodger Don Drysdale, subbing for Sandy Koufax, and sparks an 8–2 Twins win in the first game of the World Series. Jim Grant gets the win allowing just one hit, a home run by Ron Fairly. Mincher and Versalles homer for the Twins. Koufax sits out the opener because it is the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.

» October 10, 1965: In game four Don Drysdale evens the World Series with a 5-hit 7–2 win. Wes Parker and Lou Johnson hit home runs, as the Dodgers beat Jim Grant.

» October 13, 1965: The Twins' Mudcat Grant does it all himself, hitting a 3-run home run and pitching a 5–1 win at Minnesota to knot the World Series with the Dodgers.

» July 4, 1967: In Minnesota, Mudcat Grant stops the Yankees to give the Twins a 8–3 victory. Mickey Mantle drives in all three New York runs with two homers.

» November 28, 1967: The Twins send SS Zoilo Versalles and P Jim Grant to the Dodgers for C John Roseboro and pitchers Bob Miller and Ron Perranoski.

» October 14, 1968: In the National League expansion draft, the Expos choose 30 players, including Maury Wills, Jim Grant, Donn Clendenon, and Manny Mota. San Diego's 30 selections include Dave Giusti, Nate Colbert, Zoilo Versalles, Al McBean, and Clarence Gaston.
 


Grant a walking history lesson
Pioneering pitcher passing legacy to next generation
Jim Grant travels the country for clinics, and also talks about child abuse and education. (Minnesota Twins)

MINNEAPOLIS -- In addition to being a former Major League pitcher, Jim "Mudcat" Grant is a community activist, a public speaker, an accomplished blues singer and a walking history lesson about African-Americans in baseball.

To anyone who listens, Grant will talk about the game and the experiences that he, his peers and pioneers went through to play baseball. There is certainly plenty for him to discuss.

Grant was the first African-American pitcher in the American League to win 20 games and the first to earn a World Series victory, achieving both feats for the Twins in 1965.

"At the time you knew it was important, but you didn't know how important it really was and really is," said Grant, who played from 1958 to 1971 with seven Major League teams -- including Minnesota from 1964 to 1967. "It's huge with me to be the first African-American to win 20 games in the American League."

That achievement has made him a member of "The 12 Black Aces," named for the dozen African-American pitchers to win 20 games. That fraternity also includes such names as Don Newcombe, Bob Gibson, Ferguson Jenkins and Dwight Gooden.

"Prizes? We have all of them," said Grant. "We have Cy Young winners. We have Pitchers of the Year. We have World Series records. Not enough people know that. Our accomplishments are huge."

Grant would love to see new "Aces" added to the elite list, but at this point he'd be pleased just to see more black starting pitchers in today's game.

"The '12 Black Aces' are very important," he said. "We've only had 12 African-Americans win 20 games in the history of baseball. It's amazing. Now we only have about three or four black starting pitchers in the Major Leagues. There is a dwindling of everyday black players in baseball. I am sure if a lot of our young black people knew this, they would really play the game. They would not let it dwindle the way it has gone today. Jackie Robinson would be very disappointed. Larry Doby would be very disappointed."

Grant, too, is disappointed, because early African-American players endured so much bigotry and hardship both on and off the field. At one time or another, players in the Majors and minors had to use separate water fountains and stay in segregated hotels, and were denied seats in taxis and movie theaters. But, he said, no bitterness remains from those hurtful times.

"We don't hold a grudge," he said. "We had the capacity to overcome all these indignities and insults to become terrific ballplayers. A lot of us are Hall of Famers. A lot of us are All-Stars. It is the system that portrayed us to be less of a people, not us, the ballplayers. We didn't let it stick."

Grant is in the process of creating a "12 Black Aces" traveling museum, with a book about the group also on the way. He is working with current Twins star Torii Hunter and other players on ways to pass the legacy to the next generations by going into the community and talking about the game, staging clinics and signing autographs.

"We seem to have a tendency, I know in baseball, to forget the historical part of the game," said Grant, who had a 145-119 career record. "We have a celebration of Jackie Robinson, but a lot of the young people don't know what it really is or what it really meant back in those days. They don't know who Larry Doby is, and he signed right after Jackie Robinson."

Grant recently appeared with current and former players at TwinsFest inside the Metrodome. Again he was walking history -- wearing a shirt and hat from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, another group with which he's heavily involved.

Grant, who turns 70 this August, walks with the aid of a cane but remains very active. Based in Los Angeles, he travels the country for baseball clinics, but also talks about such societal issues as child abuse and education.

"I'll be doing this until I die," he said. "I motivate my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to do the same thing -- feel the pulse of your community and see what you can do to alleviate some of the problems that have been tagging us for a long time. Help within a community."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


The Twins Hooked Whopper in Mudcat Grant Standout on Mound
­ Expert Jazz Musician, Too / By MAX NICHOLS TWIN CITIES, Minn.


Take James Timothy Grant to a refined gathering at a New England estate and you will find he's the center of attraction; talking baseball and music or teaching a 12-year-old girl to dance. Wander into a jazz night club with this same 30-year-old man and you will find he's the Mudcat, a swinger who can sing with the professionals and dance with the fun-lovers. Talk with him about his poor but proud upbringing in Lacoochee, Fla., and you will find he remembers with a laugh that he "used to eat possum like it was a steak" as a boy. And he remembers with a frank, direct tone that he once worked in a lumber mill for $26 a week. Now walk out to the ball park and watch Jim Grant pitch. He has confidence that expects to win and an arm that can challenge a batter with a fast ball. "All my life I've had a dream," said Jim. That's not hard to believe after witnessing the many ways in which this Twins' pitcher has developed his abilities and polished his personality. On September 25, 1962, when he blanked the Senators, 5-0, on a one-hitter, Jim became the first Negro to win 20 games in the American League. And his dream, much loftier, was so close to reality his eyes were bright with excitement. "It sounds impossible," said Grant. "But I'm beginning to think I might make it. I've always wanted to build a large house, something like an apartment house, so my mother, brother, sisters and their families will all have a good place to live."

Dreaming of Pay Hike

Jim was thinking of the dreams that might be realized with a World Series check, plus a large raise for his biggest season. He was maneuvering for position to bargain for well over a $40,000 salary next season. That's a big jump from the $27,500 (guesstimated) Grant made for this year. But the six-foot, 185-pound righthander feels he has earned it as the "stopper" for the Twins in their march toward the American League pennant. "Jim has won our big games for us all season," said Manager Sam Mele. "He has stopped our losing streaks and beaten the tough clubs. He's done the job that Camillo Pascual used to do." Pascual, a 20-game winner in 1962 and 1963, did not win a game from June 8 until September 11. And it was during those summer months in between that Grant took charge of the Twins' fortunes every fourth day. He pitched 252 innings in winning his first 20 victories, going the nine-inning route 14 times. In all that time, he walked only 55 batters while striking out 131. But, as Mele said, most important were against whom and when Grant won. He defeated contenders for 11 of those 20 triumphs, beating Chicago four times, Baltimore three, Cleveland three and Detroit once.

Blanked Chisox Twice
And he did it impressively, holding Chicago to two earned runs in 36 innings during those four victories. Twice he shut out the White Sox. In September, he faced Chicago at Comiskey Park when it seemed Al Lopez had his Sox poised to cut down the Twins' big lead. Because of an error, Grant fell behind, 2-0, in the first inning, and it seemed Chicago would cut the lead to four games. "A lot of pitchers might get discouraged getting behind in a pressure game like this," said Mele. "But when Grant came into the dugout, he said: "That¹s the last run they will get off me." It was. Grant attacked the Sox as if he were ahead instead of behind. The Twins won the game, 3-2, for Grant's eighteenth victory. His next time out, he shut out Boston, 2-0, and built the Twins' lead to nine games with only 16 to play. "I've had five or six games that have meant a lot to us at the time," said Grant. "I never had the job of being the 'stopper' in a pennant race before. But I find I like it. "I feel like every time I win one of these games, it's good for me as well as for the club. The more I win, the better I will be at this sort of thing in the future." Grant was the winningest pitcher In the American League at the time he was talking. But it's the significance of his victories in a pennant race that gives him the greatest feeling of accomplishment. Nine times he put an end to losing ways for the Twins. Three times he was the only pitcher to beat Cleveland in a series-saving the Twins from sweeps.

Plagued by Tendonitis

And to add a touch of drama to Jim's high in an eight-year major league career, he had to pitch for two months with both knees wrapped in cloth bandages because of tendonitis. Moreover, he won eight of nine decisions during this time. Jim was born on August 13, 1935, in Lacoochee, where he was raised. His father died when he was a boy. His mother did housework to keep the family going. Jim went to Florida A&M on an athletic scholarship, playing football and baseball. "I hardly ever pitched in high school or college," Grant said. "Mostly I played third base, because I could throw hard. I guess I have played about everywhere. "After my second year of college, I had to drop out to help support my mother. I guess the Cleveland organization heard about my leaving school. I was asked to try out with the Indianapolis club at Daytona, Fla. (in 1954):" Fred Merkle, former standout first baseman of the New York Giants and famed for the Merkle boner, had scouted Grant. He worked out at third base, short-stop and first base before he pitched. "They didn't tell me where to work out," Grant said. They just told me which diamond to go to. They were about to release me when Merkle told them I could pitch. So I tried that and signed as a pitcher. "They told me they would put $500 in my envelope if I would sign. I said fine. But I guess they found out how bad I wanted to sign. They didn't give me anything. I never got a bonus. They were very good to me, though, and helped me. I always felt the Cleveland organization treated me well."

Wow! $250 a Month
Just making $250 a month in minor league baseball was big money to Grant then. Now, having been a consistent winner for several years, Grant helps the family back in Lacoochee. "I tell my mother she doesn't have to work any more," the Mudcat said. "But when I go down there and surprise them, I find out she's been working. She works just to have something to do after working so hard all of her life." In his first year in pro baseball, 1962, Grant won 21 games and lost five for Fargo-Moorhead in the Northern League. It wasn't until this year-only a few hours away in the Twin Cities of Minnesota-that Grant again had a chance to win that many games. After a 66-62 record in more than six years at Cleveland, Jim was traded, June 15, 1969, to Minnesota for Lee Stange, third baseman George Banks and about $80,000. He had a 12-10 record last year for the Twins-adding to a 2-3 mark at Cleveland. "This club has the talent to go a long way," Grant said after last season. "We just have to go down to spring training and work on fundamentals. We gave away too many runs. But we can change that." A good fielder and good hitter for a pitcher, Grant was acquired partly because he is such a good all-round athlete. And he jumped right into Mele's drills on fundamentals this spring. "I wanted Grant in the first place because he can help himself so many ways," said Mele. "You can leave him in a tight game a little longer, because he can hit. And I keep his name on my lineup card as a possible pinch-hitter. He always has been a good fielder." In Grant's eighteenth victory this year, at Chicago, a run was given up because a runner was allowed to advance from first base on a ball thrown to home plate instead of to second base. "Last year that happened nearly every game," said Grant. "This year, I would say it has happened less than a dozen times all season -maybe five or six. Next year, we will cut out that five or six. Everyone has played much better this year and that is one reason we have been winning." There were other changes. It has been well publicized that Grant learned to throw a sharp-breaking curve from pitching coach Johnny Sain. Previously, he had only a slow curve that was not effective. Sain helped him improve the slow curve as well as learn the new pitch.

Jim Credits His Tutor
And Grant never hesitated to give Sain his credit, just as he never hesitated to give his teammates credit for scoring runs for him. "I feel if I hold the other club to two or three runs, I am doing my job," said Grant. "I have always given up about a hit an inning. And I give up quite a few home runs. I think that's because my control is good. I¹m always around the plate." But of the first 32 homers Grant gave up while winning 20, he could remember only three that resulted in losses for him. "Norm Cash hurt me with one in Detroit," he said, "and so did Joe Pepitone in New York and Rocky Colavito of Cleveland. One of the biggest reasons I have won so many games is that our club has scored so many runs for me." In only three of his victories did Grant have to hold the opposition to less than three runs to win. However, in eight of his complete games he did just that, including his shutouts. He had an earned run average of 3.37 when he was reaching for No. 21, but he showed his pride in his pitching after a 17-5 victory at Boston.

Unhappy over Homers
"I know I won," he snapped after giving up four homers, "but I don't have to be happy about the way I did it." Grant was at his best this year pitching every fourth day like clockwork. Pitching with two days' rest in the spring threw him off stride early in June. Volunteering for a relief job late in June threw him off again. However, he was not sorry about either. "With a chance for a championship season, you do anything you can to help the club;" he said simply. Grant had to shorten his stride in July to compensate for his sore knees. He couldn't throw his weight onto his left knee, so he took a short stride and then continued his motion for two more steps.

"My arm hurts a little on the outside of the bicep," he pointed out. "But that is not a critical place. I don't think it will hurt my elbow or shoulder." It didn't. Grant intends to continue his off-season work with a jazz group in Cleveland. They are hooked professionally around the Cleveland area. And Jim thinks he might have a post-baseball future in entertainment. "I try not to mix it with baseball," he said. "I want to find out if I can entertain on my own merit. But being in baseball has helped me get started. And it would be nice to find out while I still am in baseball." Late this season, Grant was invited with the rest of the Twins' players for an early evening gathering at the New England home of Jim Hovey, a professional photographer who makes commercial movies, including the Twins' public relations films. Jim was easily the star of the evening. His poise was impressive as he talked with guests who knew nothing about baseball.

Fourth Shutout for Jim
The next day, he pitched his fourth shutout of the season. It was his nineteenth victory-one step from a large share of his goal. "Now," he said, "I can think of No. 20." That victory followed in his 5-0 one-hitter against Washington, September 25. In the World Series, Mudcat gets his chance to bring his "apartment" dream to reality.