Gary Alan Kolb
Born: March 13, 1940, Rock Falls, IL
Signed: Signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as an amateur free agent before 1960 season
Major League Teams: St. Louis Cardinals 1960, 1962-1963; Milwaukee Braves 1964-1965; New York Mets 1965; Pittsburgh Pirates 1968-1969
Died: July 3, 2019, Charleston, WV (age 79)
Mostly serving as a part-time outfielder, Gary Kolb played every position except pitcher and shortstop during his seven different seasons in the big leagues. He appeared in a career high 75 games for the 1963 Cardinals, hitting .271 with 3 home runs and 10 RBIs. On September 29, 1963, future Hall of Famer Stan Musial was playing in his final game and he collected the last hit of his career in the sixth inning off the Reds' Jim Maloney (#530). Kolb was the pinch-runner manager Johnny Keane (#131) sent in to run for Musial so that the legend could receive one final ovation from the St. Louis fans. Kolb was also the last Cardinals player to wear #20 before Lou Brock (#540), and the number has since been retired in Brock's honor.
The Cardinals traded Kolb to the Braves with Jimmie Coker (#192) in April 1964 in the deal that sent Bob Uecker (#519) to St. Louis. Kolb last appeared in the majors with the Pirates, but he spent four more full seasons playing for the Pirates top farm club in Charleston between 1970 and 1973. For his career, Kolb appeared in 293 games, batting .209 with 6 home runs and 29 RBIs.
Building the Set
March 27, 2020 from Cincinnati, OH - Card #86
This is one of seven cards I purchased from Dean's Cards in Cincinnati (via eBay) during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic and in the midst of the first few weeks of the worldwide quarantine. (That's a sentence I can't believe I actually just wrote.) While sorting cards and organizing my collection one Saturday in mid-March, I came across several buybacks I had from the 1965 Topps set that had been box toppers from boxes of 2014 Topps Heritage we had purchased six years earlier. Topps had added a gold stamp to each of the buybacks, celebrating the 50th anniversary of their 1965 set.
While debating whether or not I should add these buybacks to my set, and going back and forth on that decision, I finally decided the whole "dilemma" would be moot if I just purchased new versions of the old cards. Kolb, along with Cal Koonce (#34) and Nate Oliver (#59), was one of the three cards I purchased to replace the buybacks and the new Kolb card cost me $3.50 (plus combined shipping).
Doug was more excited with the two boxes of 2020 Topps Gypsy Queen I bought on an impulse than he was with these cards when they arrived, but he was still glad to add a few cards to our growing set. I'm assuming these will be the last cards I purchase for our 1965 set for a little while.
I think I should start tracking hatless photos appearing in the set. Kolb is shown from the neck up as he's most likely wearing a Cardinals jersey here even though he had spent the entire 1964 season with the Braves. On the back of the card, the cartoon pays tribute to his football playing days at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His 1962 league-leading fielding efforts came with the Double-A Tulsa Oilers.
Braves Team Set
Kolb appeared in 24 games for the Braves, batting .259, and on July 21st he was traded to the Mets for Jesse Gonder (#423). With the Mets, Kolb played in 40 games, batting .167 (15 for 90), playing all three outfield positions, first base and third base. He started 23 games for the Mets in their outfield. Kolb spent all of 1966 playing for the Triple-A Jacksonville Suns and was traded to the Pirates in December 1966.
First Mainstream Card: 1964 Topps #119
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (4): 1964-1965, 1968-1969
Most Recent Mainstream Card: 1978 TCMA The 1960s I #283
18 - Kolb non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 4/5/20.
The Trading Card Database
In some cases, the first and last cards listed above are subjective and chosen by me if multiple cards were released within the same year. Most recent mainstream card may also be subjective and does not include extremely low serial numbered cards, buybacks or cut autograph cards.