Six former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date.
Danny Kolb, relief pitcher for the 2007 Pirates. He was originally drafted out of high school in Illinois by the Minnesota Twins in the 17th round in 1993, but he didn’t sign until 1995 when the Texas Rangers selected him in the sixth round out of Illinois State University. Kolb made the majors almost exactly four years to the day after he was drafted, but he didn’t see extended big league time until his fourth season in the majors. He was a starting pitcher throughout the minors, putting up strong numbers at the lower levels, including a 2.21 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP in 53 innings as a rookie in pro ball in 1995. Despite that low ERA for the Gulf Coast League Rangers, he finished with a 1-7 record in 11 starts and one relief outing. That was followed by a 2.82 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP and 162 strikeouts in 175.2 innings in 1996, spread out over three levels. Kolb made his first 20 starts for Charleston of the Low-A South Atlantic League, then had six starts for Port Charlotte of the High-A Florida State League, before making his final two starts with Tulsa of the Double-A Texas League. Despite the strong debut, then quick movement in his second year, he hit a roadblock in the starting role at the upper levels. He posted an ERA of 4.20 and higher during the next three years. He spent a majority of 1997 back with Port Charlotte, where he pitched 133 innings. He also made two starts for Tulsa. Kolb combined to go 4-12, 4.86, with 89 strikeouts and a 1.57 WHIP in 144.1 innings. He made 28 starts for Tulsa in 1998, going 12-11, 4.82 in 162.1 innings, with 76 walks, 83 strikeouts and a 1.62 WHIP. He also threw one scoreless inning for Oklahoma of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League.
Kolb debuted with the Rangers in 1999, while splitting the minor league season between Tulsa and Oklahoma. He combined to go 6-5, 4.20, with 53 strikeouts and a 1.59 WHIP in 98.2 innings during his minor league time. The Rangers called him up as a reliever in June of 1999. He had a 4.65 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP in 31 innings over 16 games during his first taste of the majors. He pitched just one big league game in 2000, and it did not go well. Kolb allowed five earned runs while recording just two outs on May 26th. The rest of his time was spent in Oklahoma, where he had an 0.98 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP in 18.1 innings, before missing the remainder of the year after having Tommy John surgery on June 13th. After rehabbing for 39.2 innings over three levels of the minors in 2001, he made 17 big league appearances that year, resulting in a 4.70 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP in 15.1 innings. His minor league time saw him put up a 2.50 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP. Kolb spent the first half of 2002 injured with a rotator cuff partial tear. He then rehabbed for 14.1 innings over two levels in the minors, before stepping into a regular relief role for the Rangers in July. He pitched 34 games over the final three months, finishing with a 4.22 ERA, a 1.53 WHIP and a 22:20 BB/SO ratio in 32 innings. Kolb was released late in Spring Training in 2003, then quickly signed with the Milwaukee Brewers, where he turned his career around in a hurry after a dominating performance in the minors. He began the year with Indianapolis of the Triple-A International League, where he had a 1.37 ERA, an 0.99 WHIP and 46 strikeouts in 39.1 innings. He joined the Brewers in mid-June, then finished the year off with a 1.96 ERA, a 1.28 WHIP, 39 strikeouts and 21 saves in 41.1 innings over 37 appearances.
Kolb followed up that breakout performance with a 2.98 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP and 39 saves over 64 appearances in 2004. He made the National League All-Star team that year for the only time in his career. That success was quite impressive considering that he had just 21 strikeouts in 57.1 innings. The Brewers traded Kolb to the Atlanta Braves prior to the 2005 season. He posted a 3-8, 5.93 record in 57.2 innings over 65 appearances. His WHIP went from 1.13 in 2004, to 1.85 in 2005, but he nearly doubled his strikeout rate, finishing with 39 on the season. He was traded back to the Brewers in December of 2005, though he failed to regain his form from the 2003-04 seasons. He had a 4.84 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP in 48.1 innings over 53 appearances for the 2006 Brewers. Kolb became a free agent after the season, then signed with the Pirates in February of 2007. He spent most of the year in Triple-A (back in Indianapolis), while getting just three relief appearances with Pittsburgh in mid-June.He had a 3.15 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP in 20 innings with Indianapolis. He allowed three runs over three innings during his brief time with the Pirates. He was designated for assignment on June 22nd, then didn’t pitch again that season. He signed with the Boston Red Sox for 2008, pitching nine games for them with Pawtucket of the International League, before being released in late April. That move effectively ended his career, though he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays a month later, but never pitched a game for them at any level. Kolb finished his nine-year big league career with an 11-23, 4.36 record in 286.2 innings over 290 appearances, recording 73 saves. He had 177 strikeouts and a 1.52 WHIP. His cousin Gary Kolb played for the 1968-69 Pirates, making them one of just 26 sets of relatives to play for the Pirates. During the 2003-04 seasons in Milwaukee, the Brewers had another pitcher in High-A ball named Dan Kolb.
Sean Lowe, pitcher for the 2002 Pirates. He was a first round draft pick of the St Louis Cardinals in 1992 out of Arizona State, chosen 15th overall. He made his Major League debut with the Cardinals five seasons later. Lowe was originally drafted out of McLennan Community College, twice getting selected in the 43rd round. The Cincinnati Reds took him in 1989, followed by a selection by the Oakland A’s in 1990. He worked almost exclusively as a starting pitcher in the minors, but ended up mostly pitching in relief in the majors. Lowe debuted with a 1.61 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP in 28 innings for Hamilton of the short-season New York-Penn League in 1992. He then got skipped to the High-A Florida State League in 1993, where he had a 4.27 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP in 132.2 innings for St Petersburg, which was a high ERA/WHIP combo for the pitcher-friendly league. He improved in 1994 while repeating the level, going 5-6, 3.47 in 114 innings, with 92 strikeouts and a 1.37 WHIP. That led to a three-game stint in Double-A with Arkansas of the Texas League, where he had a 1.40 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 19.1 innings. He stalled out a bit at that point by spending all of 1995 and part of 1996 back in Arkansas. He went 9-8, 4.88 in 129 innings over 24 starts in 1995, with 77 strikeouts and a 1.60 WHIP. He then followed it up with a 6.00 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP in 33 innings over six starts for Arkansas in 1996. Lowe spent the majority of the 1996 season in Triple-A with Louisville of the American Association, where he had an 8-9, 4.70 record in 115 innings, with 76 strikeouts and a 1.55 WHIP.
Lowe joined the Cardinals in late August of 1997, after going 6-10, 4.37, with 117 strikeouts and a 1.48 WHIP in 131.2 innings for Louisville. He struggled in his first shot at the big league level, posting a 9.35 ERA and a 2.13 WHIP in four starts and two relief appearances, totaling 17.1 innings. He had a strong 1998 season in Triple-A, as the Cardinals moved their affiliate to Memphis of the Pacific Coast League. Despite being in a higher-offense league that year, Lowe went 12-8, 3.18, with 114 strikeouts and a 1.36 WHIP in 153 innings. His only big league time that year came in late May/early June, when he had a 15.19 ERA in 5.1 innings over one start and three relief outings. After ten games in the majors between the 1997-98 seasons, he moved on to the Chicago White Sox, where he made 159 appearances over three season. The Cardinals traded him on February 9, 1999, for minor league pitcher John Ambrose, who never made the majors. Lowe instantly added value to the White Sox bullpen, pitching 64 games in 1999, while posting a 3.67 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP in 95.2 innings. He had a rough go of it in 2000, finishing with a 5.48 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP in 70.2 innings over five starts and 45 relief appearances. He rebounded the next year while making 11 starts and 34 relief appearances. Lowe went 9-4, 3.61, with a 1.22 WHIP over 127 innings in 2001. He set career highs that year in wins, innings and strikeouts (71). He also picked up his only three career saves.
On December 13, 2001, the Pirates traded starting pitcher Todd Ritchie to Chicago in exchange for Lowe, Josh Fogg and Kip Wells. Lowe made 43 appearances (one start) for the Pirates before he was released in early September. He had a 4-2, 5.35 record, 57 strikeouts and a 1.72 WHIP in 69 innings for Pittsburgh. He actually finished much better than he started the season. He had a 7.92 ERA through May 12th, but he posted a 3.89 ERA over his final 44 innings with the team. Despite improving, he was sent to Nashville of the Pacific Coast League after his appearance on August 8th, then made five starts before he returned to the Pirates for his final game with the team on September 8th. After being released following that one September appearance, he finished that 2002 season with the Colorado Rockies, where he had an 8.71 ERA and a 2.23 WHIP in 10.1 innings over eight appearances. Lowe then spent most of 2003 in the majors with the Kansas City Royals, where he had a 6.25 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP in 44.2 innings over 28 outings. He also made 14 appearances for Omaha of the Pacific Coast League, where he went 4-0, 3.25 in 52.2 innings over seven starts and seven relief appearances. That was his last season in baseball, leaving him with a 23-15, 4.95 record, a 1.54 WHIP and 288 strikeouts in 440 innings over 248 career games (22 starts).
Mike Kingery, outfielder for the 1996 Pirates. He made his Major League debut in 1986 with the Kansas City Royals, seven years after signing as an amateur free agent at 18 years old. Kingery started off slow in the rookie level Gulf Coast League in 1980, hitting .224 in 44 games, with 12 runs, six extra-base hits, 13 RBIs and a .610 OPS. He moved up to Charleston of the Class-A South Atlantic League in 1981, where he posted a .713 OPS in 69 games, with a .268 average, 33 runs, ten extra-base hits and 25 RBIs. It was a solid season, but his breakout year was 1982 when he repeated the level with Charleston. Kingery hit .318 that year, with 65 runs, 19 doubles, eight homers, 75 RBIs, 25 steals and 62 walks in 140 games, resulting in an .805 OPS. His numbers in the pitcher-friendly Class-A Florida State League in 1983 were not impressive, outside of stealing 31 bases. He batted .266 in 123 games for Fort Myers, with 68 runs, 18 extra-base hits, 51 RBIs, 56 walks and a .681 OPS. He batted .297 with Memphis of the Double-A Southern League in 1984, while drawing 93 walks in 139 games, leading to a .412 OBP. He had 65 runs, 19 doubles, 58 RBIs, 18 steals and a .790 OPS. In his first run through Triple-A, he had a .255 average, 51 runs, 25 doubles, 49 RBIs, 61 walks and a .695 OPS in 132 games for Omaha of the American Association. His stolen base percentage left something to be desired, going 16-for-28 in steals.
Kingery’s second year at Omaha was much better, and it led to his big league debut in July of 1986. Before his debut with the Royals, he hit .332 in 79 games, with 47 runs, 25 extra-base hits, 47 RBIs, 22 steals, 39 walks and an .871 OPS. Kingery hit .258 in 62 games for the 1986 Royals, with 25 runs, 18 extra-base hits, 14 RBIs and seven steals, while posting a .684 OPS. He was traded to the Seattle Mariners in December of 1986. He spent the entire 1987 season in the majors, which was something he would do just once before 1994. Kingery hit .280 in 120 games for the 1987 Mariners, with 38 runs, 25 doubles, nine homers, 52 RBIs and a .778 OPS. Despite solid stolen base numbers in the minors, he went 7-for-16 in steal attempts that year. Over the next five seasons, he bounced between the minors and majors. He hit just .203/.313/.276 in 57 big league games in 1988, while putting up an .857 OPS in 47 games for Calgary of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. He then saw very limited big league action during the 1989 season, getting 84 plate appearances over 31 games. He hit .224/.286/.342 that year for the Mariners. Kingery’s numbers slipped a bit in the hitter-friendly Calgary that year, as his .789 OPS was three points below team average. He failed to make the Mariners out of Spring Training in 1990, then became a free agent. Kingery signed eight days later with the San Francisco Giants and began the year in Triple-A with Phoenix of the Pacific Coast League. He was called up in late May, then provided some solid offense the rest of the season, hitting .295 in 105 games (41 starts), with 24 runs, eight extra-base hits and 24 RBIs. Low power/walk numbers led to a .673 OPS. His time with Phoenix was very different, as he had a much lower .240 batting average, but it came with a much higher .753 OPS in 35 games.
Kingery struggled in a deep bench role with the 1991 Giants, batting .182 in 126 plate appearances over 91 games. A decent walk rate gave him a .280 OBP, but he had just four extra-base hits (no homers), leading to a .516 OPS. His time with Phoenix that year was limited because he was successful, putting up a .341 average and an .881 OPS in 13 games. Kingery signed with the Oakland A’s in 1992, where he played just 12 big league games, hitting .107/.138/.107 in 29 plate appearances. He spent the rest of the year with Tacoma of the Pacific Coast League, where he hit .306/.360/.386 in 99 games. Kingery signed with the Kansas City Royals in 1993, but he spent the entire season back with Omaha, where he had a .263 average, 61 runs, 34 extra-base hits, 41 RBIs and a .736 OPS in 116 games. He then signed with the Colorado Rockies, where he had an incredible season out of nowhere in 1994. He hit .349 that year, with 56 runs, 39 extra-base hits, 41 RBIs and a .933 OPS in 105 games. At first glance, one would assume he was helped greatly by the thin air in Colorado, but he actually hit 29 points higher on the road that season. His average dropped 80 points during the 1995 season, and his OPS plummeted 171 points. He batted .269 in 119 games that year, with career highs of 66 runs, 13 steals and 45 walks, to go along with 30 extra-base hits, 30 RBIs and a .762 OPS. The Rockies let him go via free agency at the end of the year, then Kingery signed quickly with the Pirates, receiving a two-year contract.
Kingery hit .246 over 117 games in 1996, with 32 runs, 12 doubles, three homers, 27 RBIs and a .641 OPS. He started 58 games all year, while spending most of his time playing center field. He was released after the season, then decided to retire from playing baseball to open a baseball school in Minnesota, which he still runs to this day. He didn’t officially retire until after the 1997 season, so he was still able to collect his 1997 paychecks from the Pirates. The Pirates said that Kingery was brought in to help with the defense in center field, but he ended up posting a -1.9 dWAR, which was easily the worst total of his career. Combined with the low offensive output, he finished with a -2.0 WAR on the season. In his ten seasons in the majors, he hit for a .268 average with 292 runs, 108 doubles, 26 triples, 30 homers, 219 RBIs and 45 stolen bases in 819 games.
Bob Steele, pitcher for the 1917-18 Pirates. He was born in Canada, and made his pro debut in his home country in 1913 at 19 years old, playing for a team from Moose Jaw of the Class-D Western Canada League. He went 17-9, with a 1.34 WHIP in 243 innings during that first season of pro ball. He was playing for Victoria of the Northwestern League in 1914, where he had an 18-13 record and a 1.31 WHIP in 295 innings, while picking up 188 strikeouts. His ERA isn’t available for that year, but we know he allowed 3.60 runs per nine innings. He was acquired by the St Louis Cardinals after the season, in the minor league draft, with the Cardinals paying Victoria $1,250. It was said that many teams were after him. The local papers didn’t mention his actual pay, but they said he would received 25% more with the Cardinals. He spent the 1915 season in the states with St Paul of the Double-A American Association (highest level of the minors at the time), after going through Spring Training with the Cardinals. There was a story in the local St Louis papers on March 30, 1915, which said that he was looking for a wife so he could avoid going into military service in his home country, stating that he had a baseball career ahead of him and he didn’t know why Canada was involved in the war. He went 20-16, 2.48 in 316 innings in 1915 for St Paul, with 142 walks, 183 strikeouts and a 1.29 WHIP. He was in the majors by the next season with the Cardinals. Steele had a 3.41 ERA in his rookie season in 1916, a number that doesn’t sound bad, but was actually rather high for the time (the National League had a 2.61 league average in 1916). His record showed just how bad the team was that year, as he went 5-15 in 21 starts and eight relief appearances, throwing a total of 148 innings. He had a 1.34 WHIP, 42 walks and 67 strikeouts.
Steele began the 1917 season with the Cardinals, but he was shipped to the Pirates in exchange for infielder Doug Baird in the middle of June. Steele had a 1-3, 3.21 record at the time in 42 innings over six starts and six relief appearances. While it’s listed as a trade now, it technically wasn’t one. When the Cardinals picked up Baird off waivers on June 13th, Steele became available to make roster space. The Pirates then paid the $1,500 waiver fee to acquire him. So the two players traded roster places, but it was actually two waiver deals made one day apart. The Pirates finished with a 51-103 in 1917. Steele went 5-11 for the Pirates, despite a 2.76 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP in 179.2 innings. He threw a complete game shutout against his old Cardinals teammates on September 11th. He began the 1918 season with the Pirates, going 2-3, 3.31 in 49 innings, before he was traded to Kansas City of the American Association as part of a deal to acquire pitcher Roy Sanders. Steele got to pitch in what was called a farewell game on June 30th, and he took the loss, allowing two unearned runs in a complete game against St Louis. He then refused to report to Kansas City, and instead he pitched for a team with the Delaware River Shipyard League on July 14th. Two days later, Kansas City sold his rights for $2,500 to the New York Giants. Steele threw a total of 17 innings without an earned run to end his time in Pittsburgh. He then threw 20.2 innings over his first three appearances with the Giants without allowing an earned run. That streak was snapped in the first inning of a game on July 31st against the Pirates. He pitched 12 games for the Giants that season, posting a 2.59 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP in 66 innings.
Steele made one appearance for the Giants in April of 1919 before his Major League career ended. He allowed three runs over three innings in that lone game for the 1919 Giants. He was sold to a minor league team just days after his appearance, then he finished his baseball career later that year by going 6-9, 3.53 in 181 innings for Indianapolis of the American Association. He also pitched 12 games for an independent team from Oil City, Pa., winning ten times. Steele was then sold to San Francisco of the Pacific Coast League, but refused to report, even after they offered him a bonus to join the club. He remained in Oil City for the 1920-21 seasons, and even opened up a business in town. He was barred from the majors at the time by Commissioner Kenesaw Landis, but he still found semi-pro work in 1922 in New York, then signed a three-year deal in 1923 for a team in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he decided to move. Steele went 16-38, 3.05 in 487.2 innings in the majors, with a 1.22 WHIP and 217 strikeouts. He pitched 57 times as a starter and 34 times in relief, finishing with 28 complete games and four shutouts.
Duff Cooley, first baseman for the 1900 Pirates. He made the majors as a 20-year-old in 1893, and already had seven seasons in at the majors prior to the Pirates acquiring him for cash from the Philadelphia Phillies on April 30, 1900. Cooley was a .315 career hitter in 696 games at that point. Cooley burst onto the scene as a rookie, hitting .346/.391/.421 in 29 games for the St Louis Browns in 1893. He had just 21 games of pro ball experience before his debut, hitting .347 for Topeka of the Western Association. He had 24 runs, six extra-base hits and five steals in that limited time. He played for St Joseph of the Western Association in 1894 as well, but he put in good time in the majors during those first two seasons with the Browns. He hit .296 in 1894, with 35 runs scored and 21 RBIs in 54 games, though it came with a low walk rate and just five extra-base hits. The 1894 season is at the top of the list for offense in baseball, so his .670 OPS that year was well below average for the league. Cooley was strong during the 1895 season, putting up a career year. He hit .342 in 133 games, with 108 runs scored, 194 hits, 20 triples, 75 RBIs, 27 steals and an .851 OPS. Despite all of those triples, he had just 36 extra-base hits total. He was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in the middle of the 1896 season. He finished the year with a .307 average in 104 games, reaching that mark by hitting .307 in 40 games with St Louis and .307 in 64 games with the Phillies. He had 92 runs, 20 extra-base hits, 35 RBIs, 30 steals and a .718 OPS. Cooley hit .329 in 1897, while setting a career high with 124 runs scored. He had 14 doubles, 13 triples, four homers, 40 RBIs, 31 steals, 51 walks and an .807 OPS. He nearly matched that during the 1898 season, batting .312 in 149 games, with 123 runs scored. He finished with 24 doubles, 12 triples, four homers, 55 RBIs, 17 steals, 48 walks and a .771 OPS.
Cooley hit .276 in 1899, with 75 runs, 15 doubles, eight triples, 31 RBIs and a .690 OPS in 94 games. That season was the first that he primarily played first base, after seeing more time at all three outfield positions in previous years. After being purchased by the Pirates just as the 1900 season starter, he played 66 games that year, hitting just .201/.243/.241 in 275 plate appearances, with 30 runs and 22 RBIs. Manager Fred Clarke kept him around for over a month after his final game, saying that he was good motivation for the other players to have on the bench. Cooley played his final game on July 21st, then he was released on August 23rd. His only game during those five weeks was an exhibition game against a team from Atlantic City, NJ, which is where Cooley was sent after being released by the Pirates. While his defense was considered to be the best in the league, he wasn’t hitting well, and he lost some speed, making him a detriment to the team whenever he could get on base. He began 1901 in the minors with Syracuse of the Class-A Eastern League (highest level of the minors at the time), but he ended up playing another five seasons in the majors and even had a run of three solid seasons with the 1902-04 Boston Beaneaters. Cooley had a .339 average and 16 extra-base hits in 55 games for Syracuse in 1901. He joined Boston in late July of 1901, where he hit .258 in 63 games, with 27 runs, 16 extra-base hits, 27 RBIs and a .640 OPS. He played 63 games straight after joining Boston, but the team allowed him to go home early with six games left in the season.
Cooley hit .296 in 1902, with 75 runs, 26 doubles, eight triples, 58 RBIs, 27 steals and a .711 OPS in 135 games. He batted .289 in 1903, with 70 runs, 26 doubles, ten triples, 76 RBIs, 27 stolen bases and a .720 OPS in 138 games. He then had a .272 average during the 1904 season, with 41 runs, 30 extra-base hits, 70 RBIs, 14 steals and a .684 OPS in 122 games. He mostly played left field during that time, but still saw time each year at first base and occasionally played center field. He ended his big league career as a center fielder with the 1905 Detroit Tigers, hitting .247 in 97 games, with 25 runs, 21 extra-base hits, 32 RBIs and a .629 OPS. Cooley finished with a .294 career average, 849 runs, 180 doubles, 102 triples, 557 RBIs and 224 steals in 1,317 games. After the 1905 season, he played another four seasons in the minors and managed for three years. He joined his hometown team in 1906, playing for Topeka of the Class-C Western Association. He had a .305 average in 124 games, with 21 doubles, 13 triples and a homer. He played briefly for Topeka in 1907 as well, but spent the majority of the year with Louisville of the Class-A American Association. He hit .262 in 120 games for Louisville, with 60 runs, 20 doubles, 11 triples, one homer and 14 steals. Cooley batted .286 in 56 games for Topeka in 1908, finishing with 23 runs, eight doubles and five triples. He had a .206 average in 20 games for Topeka in 1909, as the team changed leagues to the Class-A Western League. At age 49 in 1922, he not only managed Topeka of the Class-C Southwestern League, he also pitched seven games. In 18 years of pro ball (minors and majors), he had over 2,000 career hits. His first name was actually Duff, one of two players with that first name in MLB history. The other was Duff Brumley for the 1994 Texas Rangers. The interesting part is that Duff Cooley went by the nickname Dick. You can find very few examples of his real name in print during his career, and it was usually just a paper telling people that his first name was actually Duff.
Hank Gastright, pitcher for the 1893 Pirates. He began his Major League career in the American Association in 1889, pitching for the Columbus Solons at 24 years old. He had one year of pro ball at the time, spending the 1888 season with Toledo of the Tri-State League (no stats are available). Gastright had a rough first season in the majors, going 10-16, 4.57 in 222.2 innings, with a 1.61 WHIP, 104 walks and 115 strikeouts. He really turned things around in 1890, when he went 30-14, 2.94 in 401.1 innings, helping Columbus go from sixth place the previous season, to a second place finish. He completed 41 of his 45 starts, and threw four of his career six shutouts. His 199 strikeouts that year set a career high and placed him seventh in the league. He career best 1.11 WHIP was the second best in the league. Gastright was helped out by the fact that the Player’s League was formed for the 1890 season, which spread out the talent around baseball, making the competition in the American Association much weaker for one year. The Solons were back to a sixth place team in 1891. Gastright went 12-19, 3.78 in 283.2 innings over 33 starts, with 28 complete games. His ERA was just a few points above league average, so that record is indicative of his team’s performance. He had a 1.47 WHIP and a 136:109 BB/SO ratio. The 1891 season was the final year for the American Association at the big league level. Gastright joined the Washington Senators in the National League for the 1892 season, where he struggled with a 5.08 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP in 79.2 innings over eight starts and three relief outings. He was signed by the Pirates on November 28, 1892. They expected him to bounce back in 1893 because his arm was fine and the struggles were said to be due to illness.
Gastright got off to a good start for the Pirates in 1893, winning three of his first five starts. The Pirates also won another start he made, though he wasn’t around long enough to pick up the win. His last start came on June 1st, then he made just two appearances over the next four weeks, both in relief. He was given ten days notice of his release on June 28th (a common practice back then), and he signed with the Boston Beaneaters on July 10th to finish the season. Despite a season ERA of 5.44 (It was 6.25 with the Pirates), Gastright had a 15-5 record, giving him the best winning percentage in the majors. The pitching distance was moved back during the 1893 season, and a pitching rubber was first used, getting rid of a pitcher’s box, which allowed the pitcher to pitch from different areas of the box. The difference showed up big time for Gastright, who had 115 walks and 39 strikeouts that year. He would pitch just 16 games in 1894, followed by one game in 1896, before his big league career was over. He had a 6.39 ERA and a 2.04 WHIP in 93 innings for the Brooklyn Grooms in 1894. While the ERA sounds extremely high, the 1894 season was a peak year for offense.
Gastright’s final big league game was on June 5, 1896, when he pitched six innings in relief for the Cincinnati Reds and allowed six runs (three earned). He was said to be signing with minor league teams in Detroit, New Bedford and Providence during the 1895 season, but he never pitched that year. That was due to him actually signing with New Bedford, then trying to back out when Providence gave him a better offer days later, but New Bedford held on to his rights. He was later stricken with typhoid fever, which kept him out of action until his one poor showing in 1896. He appeared to finish his pro career in the minors in 1897 with Hartford of the Class-B Atlantic League, where he went 13-7, 2.34 in 200.1 innings. However, he pitched briefly with Grand Rapids in the Class-B Central League six years later after doing well in practice. At the time, he was working as a police officer. Over seven big league seasons, he went 72-63, 4.20 in 1,301.1 innings, with 171 games pitched, 143 starts and 121 complete games.