The KC Royals had very little luck against Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Kaat.
Kaat pitched against Kansas City during only seven of his 25 major league seasons, but left a lasting impression on the club he first faced in the second game of its history.
Kaat’s Twins lost to the Royals in their first-ever game April 8, 1969, an exciting extra-inning affair KC won via Joe Keough’s walk-off single in the bottom of the 12th. Kaat started the next day and gave up just two earned runs before leaving in the 12th; the Royals won it five innings later.
But Kaat defeated Kansas City for the first time in late June when he went the distance in Minnesota’s 12-2 victory.
The new Hall of Famer beat the Royals 12 more times and stood 13-5 with a 3.05 ERA against them when he retired, a record he couldn’t have achieved without dominating them in 1974 and ’75.
The best of those two seasons was ’74, his second year with the White Sox, when his 1.77 ERA, accomplished primarily through two complete games and a shutout, propelled him to a 4-1 record against the Royals. The fourth win gave him 21 for the season.
Kaat went 3-1 against KC the following season and beat them twice in April, pitching into the seventh inning both games. And his only loss to the Royals that year? A 12-inning complete game defeat in September.
The Royals couldn’t beat Kaat in 1972. He was 2-0 and didn’t surrender an earned run in 20 innings.