Kaat, who spent 15 of his 25 major league season with the Twins, won 283 games and 16 Gold Gloves, was a three-time All-Star and led the league in victories with 25 in 1966. But he never won a Cy Young Award, and this marks the third time that Kaat has come up exactly two votes shy of the required 75 % necessary from the Veterans Committee.
To his credit, Kaat took the news gracefully.
"If I were running for president, 51 percent would have been enough," the former Minnesota Twins pitcher said by phone. "But it's tougher to get into the Hall of Fame, and it should be."
Former Chicago Cubs third baseman Ron Santo was the only player elected to the Hall of Fame on Sunday by the Golden Era committee, a group of 16 that includes Hall of Fame players, as well as baseball executives and veteran reporters. Kaat finished second behind Santo in this year's voting.
Former Twins outfielder Tony Oliva, Kaat's Minnesota teammate between 1962-73, also was on the ballot but did not make the cut, receiving eight votes.