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Ex-MLB Star Jim Kaat Compares 2016 GOP Field to Yankee Greats

By    |   Thursday, 23 Apr 2015 08:34 PM

Trying to pick the best presidential nominee from the field of 2016 Republican hopefuls is like trying to whittle down a list of New York Yankees' baseball greats to the single greatest, baseball announcer and former Major League pitcher Jim Kaat told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV  Thursday.

Kaat, a self-described political conservative who moved to the broadcast booth after pitching in the majors for 25 seasons, from 1959 to 1983, scouted the GOP White House prospects favorably, and said the challenge is narrowing the choices.

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"Picking a candidate out of that is like, we are now faced with eight players and you pick the top four, so you've got DiMaggio, Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, Berra, Ford, Jeter, and who am I missing," said Kaat. "How are you going to pick four out of that?"

"So now you have these [four] guys and you've got to pick one," he continued. "But I hope they get together and not bicker but just pick one — who's got the best chance to win and kind of turn things around?"

A one-time on-air game analyst for the Yankees' YES Network, Kaat also discussed some of the experiences that figured into his new memoir, "If These Walls Could Talk: New York Yankees: Stories from the New York Yankees Dugout, Locker Room, and Press Box."

Highlights included being accused — wrongly — of tipping Yankees star Andy Pettitte's pitches to an opposing team, and being welcomed to the Yankees broadcast team even after he had publicly criticized team owner George Steinbrenner.

Kaat also talked baseball. He predicted that the Yankees will not go out of their way to acknowledge the 660th home run — if and when that milestone arrives — hit by player Alex Rodriguez, who is back in the game after a lengthy ban for using performance-enhancing drugs.

"[Broadcaster] Bob Costas and I discussed it, and we're going to handle it like any other home run and say, 'He has just hit his 660th home run and he now ties Willie Mays for fourth place.' We will say that, and the Yankees will say that on the scoreboard.

"But, unfortunately, if it were done under different circumstances there would probably be a stoppage of play, big celebration," he said. "The Yankees won't do that, and I don't think right now even Alex would want that."

He said he doubted Barry Bonds, the home run leader, will ever be voted into the Hall of Fame because of suspicions that he used PEDs.

Kaat addressed his own Hall of Fame prospects after coming up two votes short — 10 of 12 needed — in the ballot last winter.

Asked if missing out bothered him, Kaat said, "I know the system; I know how it works."

He said the rationale that he's heard for his rejection is not that he's outspoken as an announcer and baseball observer, but that he should have retired before his abilities and his statistics started to decline.

"I played too long," said Kaat, paraphrasing what he says he heard from voting Hall of Fame committee members. "If my career had ended in '75, then that period I'm supposed to be judged on, '61 to '75, would have looked like much more of a dominant period."

Instead, "I decided to play until I was 44 and I had fun doing it," he said. "But it kind of diluted my record — but, hey, more important things in life, aren't there?"

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Trying to pick the best presidential nominee from the field of 2016 Republican hopefuls is like trying to whittle down a list of New York Yankees' baseball greats to the single greatest, baseball announcer and former Major League pitcher Jim Kaat said.
Jim Kaat, Yankees, GOP, candidates, baseball
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2015-34-23
Thursday, 23 Apr 2015 08:34 PM
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