Tampa Bay Rays
'Mudcat' seeking next 'Black Ace'
ST. PETERSBURG - Former pitcher James "Mudcat" Grant, the pride of Pasco County's Lacoochee community, once wrote a book entitled "The Black Aces," which chronicled the lives of the 13 black players who had 20-victory seasons in the major leagues. Grant, 74, will be at Tropicana Field tonight. "I'm looking for the 14th member of our club," said Grant, an author, historian, entertainer and entrepreneur, who lives in Los Angeles. New York Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia (19-7, 3.21) gets his final start of the regular season against the Rays - and the final chance at his initial 20-victory season."I've never actually witnessed the 20th victory by any of the guys, so it would be a thrill for me," said Grant, who was inducted into the Sports Club of Tampa Bay's Hall of Fame in February. "CC is a great guy and he deserves it. And let's not forget he's going against (Rays pitcher) David Price, who could very well win 20 games one day, too." "The Black Aces" include Grant (21-7 with the 1965 Minnesota Twins) and Tampa native Dwight Gooden (24-4 with the 1985 New York Mets). Also included: Vida Blue, Al Downing, Bob Gibson, Sam Jones, Don Newcombe, Mike Norris, J.R. Richard, Dave Stewart, Earl Wilson and Dontrelle Willis. Ferguson Jenkins, a black Canadian, was listed in Grant's group, but some black pitchers from Latin America, such as Luis Tiant, were not. Joey Johnston