Hall Of Fame Debate: Cast Your Vote For Jim Kaat!!!
There is a pretty decent sized handful of pitchers from the 1960s and 1970s that were all tagged as their team’s ‘Ace’. And many of them are not in the Hall of Fame.
In time, we will cover all of them here at the ‘Hall Of Fame Debate’.
Tonight, we will discuss the career of Jim Kaat.
Jim Kaat’s major league resume is pretty outstanding. Not stellar, or elite, but certainly worth discussing when talking about the best pitchers from his era and possible Hall of Fame induction.
Here is a look at the numbers:
- 25 seasons
- 625 starts
- 283-237 record
- 54.4 win percentage
- 3 20-win seasons
- 5 15-19 win seasons
- 180 complete games
- 31 shutouts
- 18 saves
- 3.45 ERA
- 4,530 innings pitched
- 2,461 strikeouts
- 1,083 walks
- 2.27 K:Walk
- 4.9 K per 9 innings
- 3x All-Star
- 16x Gold Glove winner
- 4 Playoff appearances
- 1 World Series title
With Kaat, the numbers are solid. He was not very far from the magical 300-win milestone that normally guarantees Hall of Fame induction. His strikeout tally is impressive, but when judging his ability to dominate games with just 4.9 strikeouts per game, his number is below average compared to the Hall of Fame talent from the same era.
Where Kaat stands alone is on defense. He revolutionized, and put a major emphasis on, defensive play from the pitching mound. Kaat won a total of 16 Gold Glove Awards due to his incredible defense. The sixteen awards were consecutive, from 1962-1977, showing his dominance at the position from a defensive standpoint for a decade and a half.
Jim Kaat did not get into the playoffs very often during his 25-season major league career. He made it to the postseason just four times, advancing to the World Series twice. Kaat won a World Series title in 1982 with the St. Louis Cardinals. The championship came in Kaat’s final season in the majors, but he had little to do with the win pitching just 2.2 innings in 4 games.
So, does Jim Kaat deserve more consideration for Hall of Fame entry? Should he be enshrined at Cooperstown??
My answer is ‘No’. For me, there is just not enough dominance to be called a Hall of Famer. Most starting pitchers with 25 seasons in the majors can average 12 wins a year, and that is what Kaat did. For me, I would need to see an average win total of at least 16+ wins per year. And the strikeout tally would need to be much higher as well – Kaat’s average is well under 100 per season. Kaat absolutely stands out as the best defensive pitcher from his era, and could possibly be the sport’s greatest defensive pitcher of all-time. But, that is not enough in my book. The World Series title helps, but he did not put too much into that title.
So, what do you think? Is Jim Kaat worthy of Hall of Fame induction? Let me hear your opinion.