Twins Birthdays--August 13
by, 08-13-2013 at 07:48 AM (180 Views)
Also posted at wgom.org
Mudcat Grant (1935)
Tom Prince (1964)
Right-hander James Timothy “Mudcat” Grant pitched for the Twins from 1964-1967. He was born in Lacoochee, Florida, went to high school in Dade City, Florida, and was signed as a free agent by Cleveland in 1954. He pitched quite well in the minors, going 70-28 with an ERA under 3.20 and averaging over 200 innings per season. He made the Indians out of spring training in 1958. Grant was a solid member of the Cleveland rotation for six years, making the all-star team in 1963. He also did some singing as part of a nightclub act. When he got off to a poor start in 1964, he was traded to Minnesota for George Banks and Lee Stange. Something clicked for him when he came to the Twins, as he had his best years in Minnesota: for the rest of 1964, he was 11-9 with a 2.82 ERA, in 1965 he went 21-7 with a 3.30 ERA and finished sixth in the MVP voting, and he went 13-13 in 1966 with a 3.25 ERA. Four consecutive years of pitching between 228 and 270 innings appeared to take its toll, however; 1966 was Grant’s last good year as a starter, and after the 1967 season, he was traded to the Dodgers with Zoilo Versalles for Bob Miller, Ron Perranoski, and Johnny Roseboro. He then had a relatively successful career as a relief pitcher, saving 24 games for Oakland in 1970 and leading major league baseball in appearances with 80. The last year of his 14-year major league career was split between Oakland and Pittsburgh; he also pitched for Iowa in the Oakland organization in 1972. Grant pitched in 129 games as a Twin, 111 of them starts, and went 50-35 with a 3.35 ERA. There are various stories about who gave him the nickname “Mudcat”, with the most popular being that he was given it by Cleveland teammate Larry Doby or a minor-league teammate named LeRoy Irby. He has served on the board of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the Baseball Assistance Team, and the Major League Baseball Alumni Association. In recent years, Grant has been promoting education about the history of blacks in baseball. His book, “The Black Aces”, profiles African-American pitchers who have won twenty games in the majors, along with Negro League pitchers who might have done so had they had they opportunity. At last report, Mudcat Grant was living in Los Agneles.
Catcher Thomas Albert Prince played for the Twins from 2001-2003. He was born in Kankakee, Illinois, and was drafted by Pittsburgh in 1984 in the 4th round of the secondary phase of the January draft. Prince did not hit particularly well in the low minors, but showed moderate power and got a reputation as a good defensive player. He surprisingly hit .307 at AA Harrisburg in 1987, nearly fifty points higher than he had ever hit in the minors. That was good enough for him to make his debut in Pittsburgh as a September call-up that season. He spent parts of the next seven seasons with the Pirates, sticking for the whole year only in 1993, which was the only year he got more than 100 at-bats for Pittsburgh. He never hit for them, posting batting averages of over .200 only twice in those seven years. Let go by the Pirates after that season, Prince spent parts of the next four years with the Dodgers, again only getting 100 at-bats once, in 1997, although he did hit .200 or above every year. He spent 1999-2000 with the Phillies, and was signed as a free agent by the Twins after the 2000 campaign. With the Twins, Prince was who they thought he was: a reserve catcher who was good defensively and couldn’t hit. In 2 1/2 years in Minnesota, he got 361 at-bats and hit .219/.300/.374 with 13 homers and 44 RBIs. Released by the Twins in July of 2003, he signed with the Royals, spending most of the rest of the year in Omaha. He retired after that year at the age of 38. Tom Prince managed to play in parts of seventeen major league seasons and get 1,190 major league at-bats with a lifetime batting average of .208. Since his playing days ended, he has managed in the low minors for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He managed at Williamsport from 2005-2006, and has been the manager of the GCL Pirates from 2007-2012. He does not have that position in 2013, however, and no information about what Tom Prince is doing this season was readily available.