Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) -- A few former Minnesota Twins players became immortal Sunday in Cooperstown, New York.
Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva were enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Also in the 2022 class was David Otis, who made his Major League Baseball debut in Minnesota, playing with the Twins for five years before becoming a star slugger for the Boston Red Sox.
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. In his speech, 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, who was also part of the 2022 class.
"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."
In his speech, Oliva twice thanked Twins founder Calvin Griffith for giving him a chance to play in Minnesota.
Other inductees in the National Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2022 included former Dodgers star and Mets manager Gil Hodges, and Black pioneers Buck O'Neil and Bud Fowler.
(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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