This Day in Twins History – September 20, 1965

A Catfish whips a Mudcat, at least on this day

Catfish Hunter

Catfish Hunter

Just 537 fans paid to watch the Kansas City A’s Jim “Catfish” Hunter beat Jim “Mudcat” Grant 8-2 at Met Stadium in a makeup game in a cool 52 degree drizzle. Don Mincher hits two home runs. It is the smallest paid crowd to ever watch the Twins play at home. B-R shows paid attendance of 547 but Twins media guide states 537.

Mudcat Grant

Mudcat Grant

The Twins were up by 9.5 games going into this game and would clinch the 1965 AL pennant just 6 days later. The team went on to win 102 games in 1965 the most in Twins history and yet the Twins would finish 1965 with an attendance of just 1,463,268 in 77 home dates for an average of 19,003 fans per game. The Twins played the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Twins first ever World Series and lost 4 games to 3.

How do you get a nicknames like Mudcat and Catfish? Legend has it that this is how it came to be. Jim Grant was with the Indians and was the roommate of his boyhood idol Larry Doby when he first came to Cleveland, and Doby dubbed him “Mudcat”, saying that he was “ugly as a Mississippi mudcat”. The nickname stuck. As for Jim Hunter, it was in 1965 that the PR-conscious Athletics’ owner Charles O. Finley that gave Hunter the nickname “Catfish” in an effort to pique fan interest. A story circulated that Hunter’s family gave him the nickname as a child when he went missing and was later found with a string of catfish but there seems to be no truth to that story.

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