Advertisement

Former Indians pitcher Jim ‘Mudcat’ Grant dies at 85

Grant died Saturday at 85. He won 145 games during his major league career.
Grant died Saturday at 85. He won 145 games during his major league career.(National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)
Updated: Jun. 12, 2021 at 9:00 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Former Indians pitcher Jim “Mudcat” Grant has passed away. He was 85.

Grant joined the Indians in 1954 at age 18 and made his major league debut in 1958, according to a statement by the Cleveland Indians.

“We send our condolences to the entire Grant family, as well as to his many teammates and other organizations impacted by his 60-plus years in our game,” they said in a tweet.

He was the first Black pitcher in the American League to win 20 games in a season, according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Mudcat won 145 games during his big league career. He was a two-time All Star and the ace of the 1965 Twins team that won the AL pennant.

After his retirement, he fought against illiteracy and drug abuse, while trying to increase African-American participation in the game.

He also wrote a book, performed in a musical group, and helped fellow ballplayers who have fallen on hard times, according to the hall of fame.

Read the full statement from the Cleveland Indians here:

The Cleveland Indians organization, its players, and fans everywhere are saddened by the death of James Timothy “Mudcat” Grant, who passed away peacefully last night in Los Angeles, California. He was 85.

The Cleveland Indians family is deeply saddened by the loss of Jim “Mudcat” Grant, a true fan favorite on both the playing field and in the broadcast booth. A native of Lacoochee, FL, he joined the Indians organization at the age of 18 in 1954, made his Major League debut in 1958, and left a legacy as large as his personality. To this day, Mudcat was a cherished member of the Indians Alumni Ambassador Program. We send our condolences to the entire Grant family , as well as to his many teammates and other organizations impacted by his 60-plus years in our game,” said Bob DiBiasio, Indians SVP/Public Affairs.

Grant enjoyed a 14-year Major League career, pitching for seven different clubs. His seven seasons with the Indians was his longest tenure with one club and he compiled a record of 67-63 from 1958-1964. He earned American League All-Star honors in 1963. Mudcat finished his Major League career 145-119 with a  3.63 ERA (2242.0 IP, 985 ER) in 571 outings (293 starts).  In 1965 with the Minnesota Twins, Mudcat became the first African-American pitcher to win 20 games and to win a World Series game. He would later author the book, The Black Aces, a tribute to the 15 Black pitchers who were 20-game winners in MLB.

Following his playing days, the former roommate of Larry Doby was an activist and advocate for African American participation in baseball. He held numerous roles in the game including his time in the TV Booth calling Indians games on WJW-TV with Harry Jones, as well as a member of the Indians front office as a member of the community relations department.

Copyright 2021 WOIO. All rights reserved.