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Kirby Puckett Award

The Kirby Puckett Award recognizes a Twins alumni player or coach who best exemplifies Puckett's legacy of community service and involvement. The winner receives $5,000 from the Twins Community Fund to be granted to the charity of their choice.

2016 Winner: Jim "Mudcat" Grant

  • James "Mudcat" Grant was one of the first African American pitchers to win twenty games in a season. Since his retirement in 1971 he has been striving to keep the memory of his and other African American past players' accomplishments fresh in the mind of fans, as well as help to bring more African Americans to the game.
  • Mudcat Grant was a member of the 1965 American League Champions Minnesota Twins team. In that year, he one twenty-one games, becoming one of the first African American baseball pitchers to win 20 Major League games. Mudcat has always been acutely aware of his place, as well as others like him, in history. He recently collected interviews of other African American pitchers who won 20 games and released them in a book entitled Black Aces.
  • Mudcat released the book, Black Aces and does appearances throughout the country, to highlight the historic place in baseball history that black players had. He will often speak to schools, civic groups and youth teams to not only share the history, but encourage youth of color to take up the game.
  • Mudcat also has helped to benefit numerous charities in the forty-plus years since his retirement in baseball. Most notably, he founded the Mudcat Grant All Star Golf Tournament in Binghamton, New York. Now in its 14th year, the tournament benefits four well-known local organizations- The Broome County Urban League, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Binghamton, Catholic Charities of Broome County and the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse (CHOW). From food and meals to education and social services, these four organizations are instrumental to the well-being of children and families in our community.
  • Additionally, Grant makes himself available for charitable appearances to assist raise funds in his home of Los Angeles, and his former homes in Minnesota and Cleveland.

Past Winners:

  • 2015 - Julio Becquer
  • 2014 - Jim Kaat
  • 2013 - Frank Quilici
  • 2012 - Roy Smalley
  • 2011 - Terry Steinbach
  • 2010 - Bert Blyleven
  • 2009 - Rod Carew
  • 2008 - Kent Hrbek
  • 2007 - Tony Oliva
  • 2006 - Harmon Killebrew