Tuesday, September 20, 2011
#55) GARY KOLB
Gary Kolb came to the New York Mets when he was traded from the Milwaukee Braves in exchange for Jesse Gonder on July 21, 1965. He had been used primarily as a pinch-hitter in Milwaukee. However the versatile left-handed batter had played every position except shortstop and pitcher during his major-league career.
He made his debut with the Mets the same day of the trade in Pittsburgh. Starting in centerfield and batting leadoff against the Pirates during a 1-0 victory at Forbes Field. Gary struggled at the plate, and was relegated to a reserve role. For the season he appeared in 40 games with one home run, seven RBIs, and a .167 batting average.
Gary was assigned to Triple-A Jacksonville for the 1966 campaign. He played the entire season with the Suns and recorded a .219 batting average in 100 games. Kolb even tried his hand at pitching with 12 appearances on the mound. Gary had a 0-1 record, 4.00 ERA, and 15 strikeouts in 27 innings pitched. During that winter the Mets traded him to the Pittsburgh Pirates along with Dennis Ribant in exchange for Don Cardwell and Don Bosch on December 6, 1966.
Kolb's ability to contribute at many positions kept him on major-league rosters, but his light-hitting limited his ever becoming a regular in a lineup. Gary described being the 25th man on a 25-man roster with Sports Illustrated magazine, "I dreamed the Pirate plane crashed and I was the only survivor. Then you know what happened? They called up the entire Columbus club and I still didn't play." He finished his seven-year major league career in 1969.
Gary Kolb signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to his home on March 14, 2009.