Former Indians pitcher Jim ‘Mudcat’ Grant dies at 85

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – MAY 26: Jim “Mudcat” Grant, formerly of the Minnesota Twins returns to is seat following a singing performance at the memorial service Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew on May 26, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Harmon Killebrew passed away on May 17, 2011 after a battle with esophageal cancer. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Jim “Mudcat” Grant smiles in the dressing room after the Cleveland hurler pitched a two-hit shutout against the Kansas City Athletics, May 15, 1963. The Indians gave Mudcat a one-run lead in the first inning and made it stand up, defeating Kansas City, 1-0. (AP Photo/Julian C. Wilson)

CLEVELAND (WJW) — The Cleveland Indians organization is mourning the loss of former pitcher Jim “Mudcat” Grant.

According to the team, Grant passed away at 85. Officials say he died peacefully Friday night in Los Angeles.

The Indians released the following statement regarding his passing:

“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.”

Bob DiBiasio, Indians SVP/Public Affairs.

Grant had at 14-year MLB career and pitched for seven different clubs.

He played seven seasons with the Tribe and compiled a record of 67-63 from 1958-1964. He also earned American League All-Star honors in 1963.

Minnesota Twins great Mudcat Grant acknowledges the crowd after then teammate Tony Oliva presented him with a replacement ring from the 1965 American League Championship team prior to the Twins baseball game against the Cleveland Indians Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in Minneapolis. Mudcat lost his original ring many years ago. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Grant finished his Major League career 145-119 with a  3.63 ERA (2242.0 IP, 985 ER) in 571 outings (293 starts). 

In 1965 He became the first African-American pitcher to win 20 games and to win a World Series game. He played for the Minnesota Twins at that time.

He also authored a book titled “The Black Aces” which payed tribute to the 15 Black pitchers who were 20-game winners in MLB.

Following his playing days, he served as an activist and advocate for African American participation in baseball. Grant also called Indians games on FOX 8 (WJW-TV) with Harry Jones and served as a member of the team’s community relations department.

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