Monday, March 28, 2011

#287 Gary Kolb

#287 Gary Kolb
This card is a doozy, and is in the running alongside Bob Gibson as the most battered, well-worn card in my 1965 set. I wonder if it was someone's lucky card, and sat inside that person's wallet for years. Or maybe it was used as a bookmark in dozens upon dozens of books.

Fun facts about Gary Kolb:

-A native of Rock Falls, IL, Gary attended the University of Illinois before signing with the Cardinals in 1960.

-After playing only 84 minor league games, and none above Class B, the 20-year-old got a Septemeber callup in his first pro season. He appeared in nine games, mostly as a pinch runner, and went hitless in three at-bats.

-Gary went 5-for-14 in another late-season trial in 1962, and appeared in 75 games with St. Louis the following year. In his capacity as the club's fifth outfielder, he batted .271 with a .403 on-base percentage in 119 trips to the plate. He totaled 5 triples, 3 home runs, and 10 RBI.

-On July 13, 1963, he went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and a pair of runs scored in a losing effort; the Braves bested the Cards 7-5.

-At the beginning of the 1964 season, he had the distinct honor of being traded (along with Jim Coker) to the Braves for Bob Uecker. Kolb didn't fare too well in Milwaukee, batting .188 in 36 games. He split the 1965 season between the Braves and the Mets, and in 64 games total he matched that lowly .188 mark of the previous year.

-He spent the entirety of 1966 and 1967 at AAA for the Mets and Pirates, resurfacing in the National League with Pittsburgh in 1968. His .218 average in 119 at-bats was no great shakes, but it was a slight improvement over his recent performance.

-Gary's final shot at the majors came with the Bucs in 1969; he was just 3-for-37 at the plate (.081) to leave his final career average at .209. He totaled 6 home runs and 29 RBI in parts of 7 big league seasons.

-Kolb played wherever he was needed, making appearances at every position except pitcher and shortstop in the majors. He actually did play all nine positions in the minor leagues, and had a 4.20 ERA in 41 games pitched (75 IP).

-He played for Pittsburgh's AAA clubs in Columbus and Charleston from 1970-1973 before retiring with a .260 average in parts of 11 minor league seasons.

-His cousin is Danny Kolb, who was a reliever for the Rangers, Brewers, Braves, and Pirates from 1999-2007.
#287 Gary Kolb (back)


  1. This card makes Kolb's craggy face even more, well, craggy! Kevin, I'd forgotten about your Gibby card. Must be something about Gibson because my '59 is beat all to hell as well.

  2. Based on its wear the card could have been clothes-pinned to somebody's bicycle spokes to get that cool flappy sound.

  3. Bob - Of course, when you get a vintage Bob Gibson card in any circumstance, you're less likely to be choosy about its condition.

    Doug - No matter what, someone had fun with it!

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  5. AM
    I bet someone from Rock Falls owned it. He was/is a legend in Rock Falls. All-State in 4 sports in High School. He was the point guard on the 1958 Rock Falls Rockets basketball team that lost by two points to Chicago Marshall in the state final game when there was only one class (Hoosieresque).
    He then became the first man from Rock Falls to play in the major leagues. After Stan Musial recorded his last hit, Gary Kolb pinch ran for him as Musial left the field to a roaring standing ovation.