Thursday, August 5, 2010

Back on Topps' Radar: Gary Kolb

Gary Kolb (#407) was primarily an outfielder, but also caught a dozen or so games (mostly late in his career). He first appeared on a Topps baseball card in 1964. After his 1965 card, he disappeared for 2 seasons before returning to the 1968 set, with his final card coming in 1969.

Kolb was signed by the Cardinals in 1960, and played 3 1/2 seasons in their farm system (with brief call-ups in 1960 and 1962). In 1963, he logged considerable time with the Cardinals as a backup corner outfielder.

In early April 1964, Gary was traded to the Milwaukee Braves for catcher Bob Uecker. This was a bad break for Kolb, because not only did he get less playing time for the '64 Braves than he had with the '63 Cardinals, but the Cardinals went on to win the World Series in 1964!

1965 was Gary's first full season in the majors, but after playing sparingly for the Braves, he was traded to the Mets in July for catcher Jesse Gonder. His playing time increased with the Mets for the remainder of the season, but the Mets kept him in the minors for all of 1966.

After the 1966 season, Gary was sent to the Pirates in the Dennis Ribant for Don Cardwell trade, but played exclusively in triple-A in 1967. He would then play the entire '68 and '69 seasons in the majors.

1968 was Kolb's best season since 1963, as he appeared in 74 games for the Pirates, and played every position except pitcher, 1st base, and shortstop. With the addition of outfielder Ron Davis and the emergence of fellow catcher/outfielder Carl Taylor in 1969, Kolb had a reduced role. His last game was on September 1, 1969.

Kolb played for the Pirates' triple-A team for the 1970-73 seasons before retiring.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love players who keep playin' in the minors after they're just not major league quality anymore. It just makes me feel like they were playin' for the love of the game instead of the fame.