Mar 16, 2015

Short Time Mid Sixties Mets Outfielder: Gary Kolb (1965)

Gary Alan Kolb was born on March 13, 1940 in Rock Falls, Illinois. The six foot left hand hitter attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign getting signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1960.

The talented Kolb, would play outfield, second base, third base & even catcher in his baseball career. Although he batted left handed, Kolb threw right handed. He made some brief appearances with the Cardinals in the 1960 & 1962 seasons then had his best minor league season in 1963 batting .318 at AA Tulsa.

He was called back up to St. Louis during that season where he hit a career best .271 in 73 games. Kolb was the last Cardinal to wear the uniform #20 before Hall of Famer Lou Brock took it over& had the number retired. In April 1964 Kolb was traded to the Milwaukee Braves for the legendary baseball personality Bob Ueker. But soon, in July 1965 Kolb was traded to the New York Mets for catcher Jesse Gonder.

Kolb debuted as a Met in Pittsburgh playing centerfield going 0-4 on July 21st, during a 1-0 Al Jackson shut out over the Pirates. A week after joining the Mets he had a short four game hitting streak which kept him in the lineup into late August. 

On August 6th he hit  a three run HR at Shea Stadium, driving in all three runs  of a Mets 4-3 Mets loss to the Cubs. His hitting didn’t last too long, as he would only hit .167 (15-90) with one HR & seven RBIs playing in 40 games for the ’65 Mets. He would drive in just one more run that year coming in late September in another Mets loss. He was used as a pinch hitter twelve times getting just one hit in that role.

In December 1965 he was traded along with Dennis Ribant to the Pittsburgh Pirates for pitcher Don Cardwell who would be a aprt of the 1969 Amazing Mets team & Don Bosch. He spent the next two years in the minors. In Pittsburgh Kolb batted .218 playing in 74 games with the Pirates in 1968. After appearing in 29 games during the 1969 season, he spent his final four years playing in the minors.

In his seven season career, Kolb batted .290 with 94 hits in 450 at bats, 6 HRs 9 doubles & 29 RBIs playing in 293 career games. In his MLB career he played every poition except short stop & pitcher, although in the minors he played all nine positions at one time or another.

His cousin is Danny Kolb who pitched in the big leagues from 1999-2007 with the Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers, Atlanta Braves & Pittsburgh Pirates. Kolb saved 39 games with the 2004 Brewers (8th best in the A.L.).

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