James Timothy "Mudcat" Grant (born August 13, 1935) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who played for the Cleveland Indians (1958–64), Minnesota Twins (1964–67), Los Angeles Dodgers (1968), Montreal Expos (1969), St. Louis Cardinals (1969), Oakland Athletics (1970 and 1971) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1970–71). He was named to the 1963 and 1965 American League All-Star Teams.
Grant in 2011
|Born: August 13, 1935|
|April 17, 1958, for the Cleveland Indians|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 29, 1971, for the Oakland Athletics|
|Earned run average||3.63|
|Career highlights and awards|
In 1965, he was the first black pitcher to win 20 games in a season in the American League and the first black pitcher to win a World Series game for the American League. He pitched two complete game World Series victories in 1965, hitting a three-run home run in game 6, and was named The Sporting News American League Pitcher of the Year.
Grant signed with the Cleveland Indians in 1954 as an amateur free agent and made his big league debut with the Indians in 1958. His best season in Cleveland was in 1961 when he had a won-loss record of 15-9 and a 3.86 earned run average. In June 1964, he was traded to the Minnesota Twins and had a record of 11-9 for the remainder of the season. In 1965 Grant had the best year of his career. He was 21-7 for the Twins, helping to lead the team to the 1965 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 1965, Grant hosted a local Minneapolis variety television program, The Jim Grant Show, where he sang and danced.
He finished 6th in voting for the 1965 American League MVP for leading the league in wins, won-loss percentage (.750), and shutouts (6). He also started 39 games and had 14 complete games, 270 ⅓ innings pitched, 252 hits allowed, 34 home runs allowed, 107 runs allowed, 99 earned runs allowed, 61 walks, 142 strikeouts, 8 wild pitches, 1,095 batters faced, 2 intentional walks issued, and a 3.30 ERA. Grant's home run in the 6th game of the 1965 World Series was only the second by an American League pitcher during a World Series game.
1966 was Grant's last year as a full-time starting pitcher. He spent his next five seasons in baseball as a reliever and occasional starter for five different big league clubs.
Grant was the starting pitcher for the Montreal Expos in their first ever game on April 8, 1969. He pitched 1.1 innings while allowing six hits and three runs, starting his season off with a 20.25 ERA, although the Expos would later win the game in an 11-10 shootout that had nine combined pitchers in the game.
In 14 years, he had a 145-119 record in 571 games, while starting in 293 of them and throwing 89 complete games and finishing 160 of them, 18 shutouts, 53 saves, with 2,442 innings pitched on a 3.63 ERA. Grant's home run during Game 6 of the 1965 World Series was the only one he hit that season and one of only seven he hit in his entire career.
After his playing career ended, Grant worked for the North American Softball League, one of three Men's Professional Softball Leagues active in the pro softball era. He later worked as a broadcaster and executive for the Indians, and also as a broadcaster for the Athletics.
In recent years, Grant has dedicated himself to studying and promoting the history of blacks in baseball. On his official website, Grant pays tribute to the fifteen black pitchers (including himself) who have won 20 games in a season. The "15 Black Aces" are: Vida Blue, Al Downing, Bob Gibson, Dwight Gooden, Grant, Ferguson Jenkins, Sam Jones, Don Newcombe, Mike Norris, David Price, J. R. Richard, CC Sabathia, Dave Stewart, Dontrelle Willis, and Earl Wilson. In 2007, Grant released The Black Aces, Baseball's Only African-American Twenty-Game Winners, featuring chapters on each of the black pitchers to have at least one twenty-win season, and also featuring Negro League players that Mudcat felt would have been twenty game winners if they were allowed to play. The book was featured at the Baseball Hall of Fame during Induction Weekend 2006. In February 2007 during an event to honor Black History Month, President George W. Bush honored Grant and fellow Aces, Ferguson Jenkins, Dontrelle Willis and Mike Norris, and the publication of the book, at the White House.
On April 14, 2008, he threw out the ceremonial opening pitch at Progressive Field to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his major league debut. Grant was also awarded the key to the city to honor the occasion.
- Reichler, Joe (8 July 1963). "NL is 6-5 choice in All-Star Game". Lundington Daily News. p. 6. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
- Wancho, Joseph. "Mudcat Grant". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
- "The Black Aces". www.theblackaces.com. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
- Bollinger, Rhett (6 February 2017). "Mudcat Grant reflects on career, Black Aces". MLB.com. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
- "President Bush Celebrates African American History Month". georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov. The White House. 12 February 2007. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
- Lubinger, Bill (26 January 2010). "When They Played The Game: Long after leaving the Indians, Mudcat Grant still pitches his fondness for Cleveland". cleveland.com. The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 29 December 2018.