Gone Prowlin’: Kitty Says Goodbye

Friday’s contest against the Sox will be Jim Kaat’s last game as a commentator for the Yankees, a job he’s held since 1995; if you’re at all familiar with this site, you know that he’s one of our favorites, and that his good humor, endless font of stories, and perceptive analysis (balanced by the occaissional wacky idea), will be sorely misssed. Kaat wasn’t much for baseball’s new sabermetric math, but for those of us who enjoy the game as something more than an accumulation and analysis of data, this was easy to forgive, even if it could be a bit frustrating. Kaat’s boothmates often made fun of his age (he is 65), and indeed his stories often harked back to baseball’s halcyon days. In a game that trades on its past, Kaat was a living link to history; his three-decade caree bridged the gap from the great players of the Deadball Era and the Golden Age of the twenties and thirties (the men who trained him in his youth) all the way to the modern-day superstars born of free agency. Kitty often talked of his days growing up in the Midwest, listening to games on the radio—the pure and innocent fandom of a bygone era. In his retirement, he and his wife plan to spend much of their time travelling by RV across the country; we assume he’ll be tuning in to hear his favorite sport along the way. Who says you can’t go home again?

Godspeed Kitty. We hope to hear from you soon. From Cooperstown.

11 comments… add one
  • This is actually sad news to me purely in terms of watching the YES broadcasts. Kaat seemed rational (most of the time) and I liked his sort of…open-throated voice. Murcer and Singleton both seem, ahem, dumber and more prone to homerism (particularly Singleton). Also I loathe Murcer’s voice. Kay I used to be all right with, but more and more he annoys me. So, I salute you, O clearly best Yankees TV broadcaster. Enjoy your retirement; wish you weren’t going.

    Devine September 14, 2006, 9:58 am
  • He’s the best of the YES crew. I hope that Al Leiter can grow into his role.

    Rob (Middletown, CT) September 14, 2006, 10:09 am
  • “Kitty” is by far the best on YES. He pretty much calls it like he sees it, and when the Yankees screw up, he doesn’t sugarcoat it.
    He also had good anecdotes, and very good insight.
    Like the above commenter said, I hope Leiter fills that role.

    CW September 14, 2006, 11:08 am
  • I will miss Kitty for all the reasons you all have listed. He’s a great analyst, and never made me want to reach for the mute button….he made the broadcasts truly enjoyable.
    Even for a Yankee fan, Kay is insufferable. Murcer is just plain annoying, plus his mind seems to be going a little lately. I actually like Singleton, I thought he did a great job when he was in the booth by himself at a recent O’s game…Leiter is showing some promise, as is John Flaherty. Any combo that leads to less Kay is good, really…Let’s hope the new guys can fill Kitty’s shoes at least adequately!

    yankeemonkey September 14, 2006, 12:13 pm
  • How is it that I watch almost every Yanks game and yet I didn’t know Kaat was retiring? Odd. Also, why isn’t he seeing out the season? Seems strange to sign off after 11 years with just three weeks to go.
    To echo YF’s comments, I really enjoyed his breadth of experience and also his relative impartiality in the booth. He’ll definitely be missed by yours truly.
    I’m a big fan of Leiter and John Flaherty is pretty good, too. Singleton is not so bad. But Paul O’Neill is not only incredibly biased he’s also sometimes flat out wrong and has no insight to offer. Murcer makes too many mistakes (wrong names, score etc).

    Sam September 14, 2006, 12:16 pm
  • Wow, YM, I was writing my comments when you posted yours, and we say virtually the same thing!
    Why does everyone hate Kay so much? I think he’s a simpleton, but I also associate him being the main game-caller – YES would feel different (in a bad way) without him, imo.

    Sam September 14, 2006, 12:18 pm
  • I prefer Flaherty for the fill in role.

    Eric September 14, 2006, 1:12 pm
  • Appropriately enough, Kaat was just on M&MD and the stories he told…it was just such a pleasure to listen to. Man, I’ll miss this guy, he contributed a lot to me getting into baseball. For someone who wasn’t born in this country and didn’t get exposed to the game until relatively recently, it meant a lot to have such a knowledgeable person to listen to (and learn from) on a regular basis.
    Also, his manner was in such a stark contrast to the Mad Dog (who onced again showed how apropos his nickname is!), it was amazing.

    yankeemonkey September 14, 2006, 3:05 pm
  • After Kitty, Singleton is definitely the next best. He’s a good one.
    Flaherty boors me.

    Rob (Middletown, CT) September 14, 2006, 4:49 pm
  • I’ll miss Kaat too. I really enjoyed the interplay he had going with Leiter in the few games they did together ( without Kay).They complimented each other very well, I thought – the pitcher who faced Whitey Ford in his first big league game and the other guy fresh from the field.
    Sam, I think everyone is put off by Kay’s know-it-all manner. That “see ya” bugs the hell out of me – when it’s a homer for the opposing team, it almost sounds like he gets a perverse thrill. Just too much negativity. His radio show on ESPN is even worse.

    Andrews September 14, 2006, 5:42 pm
  • I getcha, Andrews. I have heard his show and was shocked by it, I must say. Sounded like a total wanker on that.

    Sam September 14, 2006, 6:18 pm

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