Nestor Cortes Defends Jim Kaat

Cortes Photo: @Cortes_1210 - Twitter | Kaat Photo: Nicole Neri - AP

Jim Kaat made headlines the other day, for his broadcasting of a Minnesota Twins game. But it wasn’t because of the great work he was doing. Instead, Katt was all over the internet for a not-so-endearing nickname he gave to New York Yankees pitcher, Nestor Cortes.

Jim Kaat is 83 years old and still should have known that, especially in 2022, “Nestor the Molester” wasn’t going to fly. Still, Jim isn’t the first broadcaster to say something offensive or stupid into a microphone. When it comes to live, on-air mistakes that have gone viral for the wrong reasons, this is one of the more minor slips in vocabulary judgment.

Nonetheless, Kaat reached out to Nestor Cortes and offered an apology. But Cortes didn’t need one. He wasn’t offended by “Nestor the Molester” and didn’t need the HOF pitcher to apologize. Cortes knew there was no malice behind Jim’s nickname and noted that “we all make mistakes”. It was a brief moment of levity, in a world of over-dramatization.

Cortes Dominant

Remember, Kaat brought Cortes up in discussion because of how dominant he has been so far this season, racking up 2.6 WAR in just two months of play, an insane number for a pitcher. It’s the 2nd-most WAR collected by an AL pitcher, so far this season.

Through 60 innings, Cortez has a 1.50 ERA and a 0.867 WHIP, both good for 2nd in the AL. If not for Martin Perez tearing it up in Texas, Cortes would be the best pitcher in the American League.

Jim Kaat played 25 years (1959-1983) in the MLB, pitching for 5 different teams in that time. He pitched over 300 innings twice and often led the league in games started. He finished his career with a 3.45 ERA and 1.259 WHIP.

Kaat never won a Cy Young but did finish top-5 in MVP voting in 1963, with the Twins. He also won 16 Gold Gloves and was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame with the 2021 class.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan