On August 13, 1935, God blessed James and Viola Grant with twins, James "Mudcat" Grant and Johnniemae Grant in Lake Butler, Florida. In his early years, James attended church at Mt. Moriah in Lacoochee, Florida, under the leadership of Reverend Lewis Waddell, where he was baptized. He received his education from Moore Academy in Dade City, Florida, where he played baseball, football, and basketball. In 1954, James signed at age 18 with the Cleveland Indians following a stellar career at Florida A & M University. Mudcat became the first African American pitcher to win 20 games and world series games in the American League. He pitched the greatest season of his career in 1965 and was part of the best teams in baseball, with the Minnesota Twins. He was a two-time All-Star and was named The Sporting News American League Pitcher of the Year. He also played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburg Pirates, Oakland A's, St. Louis Cardinals, and Montreal Expos. He played his final major league on September 29, 1971, at the age of 36. The success he experienced on the mound put Grant's celebrity on an entirely different level. James was more than another baseball player. He was a gifted performer. James was an accomplished musician, with a talent for the blues. He sang and danced in his own nightclub act, "Mudcat and the Kittens". He performed across the country, sang the national anthems at baseball games, and gave plenty of interviews, reliving some of the experiences and memories of his past. He also performed with the Count Basie and Duke Ellington bands. During his four seasons with Minnesota, he had his own song and dance TV gig entitled, "The Jim Grant Show". James was a game-changer on and off the field. He helped coin the term "Black Acres", in reference to the group of African American pitchers who have won 20 games in a season. He co-wrote a book published in 2006, "The Black Aces", chronicling the 13 black pitchers who were members of that elite club. After retiring from the mound, James worked in Cleveland's community relations department and as a broadcaster while becoming an activist and advocate for Black participation in sports. Grant threw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day at Progressive Field in Cleveland on April 14, 2008, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his major league debut; he also was awarded the key to the city to honor the occasion. He was inducted into the Baseball Reliquary's Shrine of the Eternals in 2012. Four years later, he was awarded the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (D.H.L.) from Whittier College in 2016. James "Mudcat" Grant said, "I had two great teachers, life and baseball". He threw his final pitch in life on June 11, 2021. He was surrounded by love and family. He will always be remembered for his tremendous effort on the field, love for the arts, enjoying the simple pleasures of life at Sizzler and Hometown Buffet, and for being a pillar in his family. James was preceded in death by his parents, James and Viola Grant; his brother, Julious Grant Jr.; and his sister, Katrena Morgan. He leaves to cherish his loving memories: his wife, Gertrude Grant; a devoted sister, Johnniemae Grant-Lopey and Altamese Wrispus both of Lacoochee, FL; his loving daughters, Gloria Grant-Sanon (Augu) of Lakeland, FL and Joi Grant of Los Angeles, CA; beloved son, James Timothy Grant III (Lenae) of Los Angeles, CA. He will always be lovingly remembered by his adoring grandkids, nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, and friends.
*Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have implemented necessary procedures during Visitations, Funeral Ceremonies, Gravesides, and other public and private ceremonies. We do ask that all visitors of these services to please continue to wear your masks and please remember to social distance. These new policies may be inconvenient, but due to the severity of the virus, we ask that everyone be considerate, patient, and safe with others as we try to get through this most difficult time. Seating during services may be limited so please be considerate of the immediate family especially.
*If you are attending a Graveside service or an Outdoor Celebration you are welcomed to bring your own chair as seating will be limited! We will provide water to make everyone as comfortable as possible. We thank you in advance for your cooperation during this time. We pray that everyone stays safe and cooperative with the current CDC rules. "
To view Mr. Jim "Mudcat" Grant's memorial service on July 3, 2021 copy the link below:
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