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Twins legends Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

Oliva and Kaat are finally heading to Cooperstown.
Tony Oliva

The wait is finally over for Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva.

The Minnesota Twins legends were elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame by the Golden Days Committee on Sunday evening making their way to Cooperstown after a pair of legendary careers.

Olivia was one of the best hitters in baseball during his 15-year career, hitting .304 with 220 home runs and 947 RBI. The outfielder was also won the 1964 American League Rookie of the Year Award and helped lead Minnesota to its first pennant in 1965.

He was also a three-time batting champion, eight-time All-Star and led the American League in hits five times during his career.

But Oliva's career was defined by the accolades he almost won. Oliva finished as the runner-up in the American League Most Valuable Player Award in 1965 and 1970 and the Twins dropped the 1965 World Series in seven games to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Oliva's legacy may have also taken a hit due to the fact he was one of baseball's first designated hitters after the rule was adopted in 1973. Still, Oliva was an elite outfielder, taking home a Gold Glove Award in 1966 with 10 outfield assists.

The 83-year-old's No. 6 jersey was retired by the Twins in 1991 and he is a member of the team's Hall of Fame but 45 years after his retirement, he can finally take his place in Cooperstown.

The same can be said for Kaat, who was one of the best fielding pitchers in the history of the game. Kaat collected 16 Gold Gloves during his 25-year career and spent 15 years with the Twins franchise dating back to their days in Washington, compiling a 190-159 record with a 3.34 ERA.

Kaat was also a workhorse, leading the majors with 304.2 innings pitched during the 1966 season. He was a three-time All-Star and compiled a 283-237 record and 3.45 ERA before going on to have a legendary broadcasting career following his retirement in 1983.

Kaat and Oliva will become the seventh former Twin to be enshrined in Cooperstown, joining Kirby Puckett, Steve Carlton, Bert Blyleven, Rod Carew, Harmon Killebrew, Paul Molitor and Dave Winfield.

Both players will be inducted as part of a ceremony on July 24, 2022.

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