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FAMU president speaks on Jim “Mudcat” Grant’s legacy

Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 5:31 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Florida A&M University continues to mourn the loss of one of its own who went on to break barriers in Major League Baseball.

Former Rattler Jim “Mudcat” Grant passed away last week at the age of 85.

Grant spoke with reporters in Minnesota in a 2015 interview marking the Twins’ 1965 World Series Team.

“This is the best day for all of us since 1965, 1965 was great, but this is the best time since ’65,” said Grant during the interview.

But Grant got his start in the Sunshine State.

He was born in 1935 in Lacoochee, Florida, where he grew up playing basketball, football, and of course baseball.

After attending Moore Academy, Grant was awarded a scholarship to FAMU to play on the court and on the diamond.

“You have to put him in the category of some of our greats like Althea Gibson and Bob Hayes. But he doesn’t get the attention that they got but he deserves it,” said FAMU president, Dr. Larry Robinson.

After a season at FAMU, Grant was signed by the Cleveland Indians.

He progressed his way through the minors before making his major league debut in 1958 as a pitcher.

“First African American to win 20 games in the American League. The first African American to win a game in a World Series,” said Dr. Robinson.

Grant would retire in 1971 and go on to become a TV analyst and a pitching instructor.

He also worked in the Black community to encourage more kids to play baseball.

Dr. Robinson says Jim “Mudcat” Grant’s life story is an inspiration for Rattlers of today.

“If Mudcat did it, so can you,” said Robinson.

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