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Hall of Fame: Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat are Finally Going In!!!

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Tom Froemming
Minnesota Twins Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat were elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Golden Days Era Committee. Here are some highlights, reactions from Oliva and Kaat and my analysis on their careers and Hall of Fame cases.
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Well said, Tom, re: your comments “Yeah, dead Babe Ruth and Ted Williams aren’t exactly upset at including these mere mortals Oliva and Kitty into the Hall.” Exactly! Speaking on behalf of all the “get off my yard” old duffers, this is just such an incredible development, seeing such very worthy Twins superstars from our formative years being honored! My most ingrained memory of Kaat is from a listening to a game he pitched AGAINST the Twins, Sept. 9, 1973 (thank you, BBREF!), the first one in which the Twins were his opponent. I recall his old batterymate Phil Roof whacking a triple to cf in the second inning to score Steve Brye - and what stood out for me in that instance was Herb Carneal’s voice on the play by play call, so absolutely consumed with the excitement and drama of the moment: the light-hitting, career second string catcher Roof connecting so solidly off his old friend Kaat, who was in the midst of his second life as a pitcher, and experiencing wild success as a White Sox player; he apparently gave Roof a wink and a knowing glance over at third afterward, I gleaned by listening to Herb’s animated description...so, even as a young kid, that was all pretty obvious to me, and made me appreciate all the more Kaat’s place in Twins history. Fun stuff, I actually had recorded that portion of the game,and replayed that moment for years after the fact. The tape was eventually lost or reused and taped over, unfortunately. Kaat eventually won that game 10-7, going 7+ innings. Wouldn’t mind having that cassette tape back, especially now that Jim Kaat and Tony have been given Cooperstown honors!

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