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.