Blyleven, Kaat Renew Friendly Rivalry as Managers at Hall of Fame Classic
(COOPERSTOWN, NY) – For four seasons in the early 1970s, Bert Blyleven and Jim Kaat pushed each other toward greatness as members of the Minnesota Twins’ starting rotation.
Now, after competing annually for the team lead in victories, complete games and innings pitched, Blyleven and Kaat will once again do battle – this time as managers in the annual Memorial Day Weekend legends game at Doubleday Field.
Blyleven and Kaat will manage Team Bert and Team Kitty at the May 27 Hall of Fame Classic. Blyleven and Kaat are two of the six Hall of Famers managers/coaches on the Classic roster, joining Cooperstown teammates Rollie Fingers, Fergie Jenkins, Jack Morris and Lee Smith in the dugout. Presented by Boeing, the Hall of Fame Classic will feature players representing all 30 Major League Baseball teams in a seven-inning legends game at Cooperstown’s historic Doubleday Field.
For more information on the Hall of Fame Classic or to purchase tickets, please visit baseballhall.org/hofclassic.
“Jim was already a legend when I came up in 1970, so I knew if I had anywhere near the numbers he did that I was doing pretty well,” Blyleven said. “He helped me get to the Hall of Fame, and it was very special to welcome him to the club in 2022. Now that we’re both going to be managers at the Hall of Fame Classic, we’ll be trying to out-do each other again.”
The 2023 Hall of Fame Classic highlights a weekend of family entertainment programs designed to celebrate the timeless connection of baseball across generations. Fueled by assistance from MLB, the Hall of Fame Classic will be preceded by the pre-game Home Run Contest at noon, followed by the first pitch at 1:05 p.m.
“As soon as Bert got to Minnesota, you could see he was going to be a star,” Kaat said. “All these years later, to be together on Doubleday Field in Cooperstown in uniform, it’s something out of a movie script. We are both very grateful, and we both would like to add one more victory to our totals.”
Following the game on Saturday will be the Doubleday Kids Dash, a chance for children to round third and head for home on the base paths of historic Doubleday Field. There is no pre-registration for this event.
On Saturday evening, the Museum will host its Night at the Ballpark program. Hall of Fame legends and former players will greet fans throughout Doubleday Field on Saturday evening beginning at 6 p.m., with Hall of Famers participating for the first hour of the event. While the Night at the Ballpark program is not an autograph session, fans should remember to bring their camera to capture their special memories.
The timeless American classics of baseball and film will also intersect Memorial Day Weekend in Cooperstown as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum hosts an All-Star film festival in the Museum’s Grandstand Theater. Films include “It Ain’t Over,” a portrait of Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra, at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 25; an episode of the ESPN series “Bananaland” at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 26; and “Glory and Grief: The Ferguson Jenkins Story” at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 26. For more information on reserving tickets to these films, click here.