Former Twins teammates Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — The Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2022 comprised of Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz and six Era Committee selections — former Twins teammates Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva, the late Minnie Miñoso, former Dodgers star and Mets manager Gil Hodges, and Black pioneers Buck O’Neil and Bud Fowler. All seven were inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown Sunday.
The duo of Kaat and Oliva are the fifth and sixth members to enter the Hall of Fame as Minnesota Twins.
The 83-year-old Kaat, now a broadcaster for the Twins, pitched for a quarter of a century, winning a World Series a year before retiring in 1983. He thanked his dad for instilling the discipline needed to succeed, his wife for always being there, and his former minor league manager, 94-year-old Jack McKeon, who was in the audience.
“I am humbled and honored to be included in this fraternity, some of the greatest players to play the game, and I thank you for being part of this wonderful day,” said Kaat, a native of Zeeland, Michigan.
Oliva was the American League Rookie of the Year in 1964, led the league in hits five times, and became the first player in major league history to win batting titles in each of his first two seasons, finishing with a lifetime average of .304 in 15 seasons with the Twins.
Oliva got his chance in part because of Miñoso, the Cuban Comet.
“I’ve been so blessed, so lucky,” said Oliva, who turned 84 four days ago. “I appreciate it very much. I’d like to say thank you to all those friends, all those wonderful friends, all those friends from all over the world. I appreciated it very much, very much.”
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