CLEVELAND - Jim Kaat remembers feeling superstitious on Aug. 26, 1962, the day Jack Kralick pitched the first no-hitter in Twins history.
"I was sitting on the top step of the dugout," Kaat said. "I had to go to the bathroom so bad, but I didn't dare leave because he had a perfect game going until the top of the ninth."
Kaat thought back to that afternoon Wednesday after learning that Kralick had died Tuesday at his home in San Blas, Mexico, at age 77.
The two lefthanded pitchers played semi-pro ball together in Michigan, and each made his major league debut with the Washington Senators in 1959 before the team moved to Minnesota two years later.
"We had a lot of good times," Kaat said. "We roomed together for a while. We didn't socialize that much off the field, but we bonded together quite well."
Kralick went 26-26 for the Twins before being traded to Cleveland in 1963 for Jim Perry. Kralick was an All-Star in 1964 and retired after the 1967 season with a 67-65 career record.
His no-hitter remains one of the best pitching performances in Twins history. He retired the first 25 batters for the Kansas City Athletics at Metropolitan Stadium before walking George Alusik with one out in the ninth. Kralick lost his bid for a perfect game but completed the no-hitter in a 1-0 Twins victory.
"He was not a likely candidate to throw a no-hitter," Kaat said. "You'd think more of power pitchers doing that, and he was a guy who threw strikes and had good movement. He just had it going that afternoon."
Kaat, 73, and other players lost touch with Kralick after they retired from baseball. An avid outdoorsman who was born in Youngstown, Ohio, Kralick moved to Alaska, then to the tiny Mexican fishing village of San Blas in the mid-1980s, according to his son, Lee Kralick.
"He didn't want the fame, didn't want the notoriety,'' Lee said. "That's just who he was.''
Kralick suffered several strokes and was in and out of the hospital the past two weeks. His oldest son, Jack Jr., and Jack Jr.'s wife, Ginger, were with him when he died, family members said.Mastroianni injured
Darin Mastroianni will be limited to pinch-running duty the rest of the season after tearing a tendon in the middle finger of his left hand. Mastroianni hurt himself on his head-first slide into home plate when he scored the go-ahead run in Tuesday's 6-5, 12-inning victory.
Mastroianni, 27, is batting .252 with a .328 on-base percentage over 75 games and has been successful in 21 of his 24 stolen base attempts.
"I know exactly what we have, and I like him a lot," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's a good extra outfielder, part-time player if you need him for a while get him out there. I'm not afraid to put him out on the field. He brings a lot to the table."Fatherhood awaits
Chris Parmelee will fly home to Los Angeles on Thursday to be with his wife, Amanda, for the birth of their first child. He is scheduled to return on Monday.
Star Tribune staff writer Dennis Brackin contributed to this report.
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