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Claude Osteen
Born: August 9, 1939 (1939-08-09) (age 70)
Caney Springs, Tennessee
Batted: Left Threw: Left 
MLB debut
July 6, 1957 for the Cincinnati Redlegs
Last MLB appearance
September 27, 1975 for the Chicago White Sox
Career statistics
Win-Loss record     196-195
Earned run average     3.30
Strikeouts     1,612
Career highlights and awards

Claude Wilson Osteen (born August 9, 1939 in Caney Springs, Tennessee, near Chapel Hill, is a former left-handed starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for a number of teams: the Cincinnati Redlegs/Reds (1957-1961), Washington Senators (1961-1964), Los Angeles Dodgers (1965-1973), Houston Astros (1974), St. Louis Cardinals (1974), and Chicago White Sox (1975). Sometimes referred to as "Gomer" because of his resemblance to Gomer Pyle, he batted and threw left-handed.


Career overview

The most significant portion of his career, both in terms of tenure and significance, was with the Dodgers. After 6 years in the majors, he was traded from the Senators to the Dodgers in a 7-player deal, with four players (two of whom were Frank Howard and Pete Richert) going to the Senators. As a Dodger, Osteen was finally made into a full-time starter. In his time with Cincinnati, he went 0-1; in his time with the Senators, he went 33-28. As a Dodger, his career finally took off.

After two years with an earned run average under 3.00, Osteen was considered a top starter and a workhorse. In those two years, Osteen and the Dodgers had reached two straight World Series, the last two Osteen would reach in his career. In the 1965 World Series, the Dodgers would beat the Minnesota Twins in 7 games, and Osteen pitched brilliantly. He had a 0.64 ERA in the Series with a 1-1 record including a shutout, which came after teammates Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax lost their respective games, the first two games of the Series. In the 1966 World Series, the Dodgers would lose to the Baltimore Orioles in 4 games. Osteen gave up only three hits in seven innings in Game Three, only to lose 1-0, his efforts outdone by Wally Bunker's six-hit pitching; a home run by Paul Blair accounted for the game's only run. Osteen's final postseason statistics include a 0.86 ERA with 7 strikeouts in 21 innings pitched.

In 1967, he reached his first All-Star game, going 17-17 with a 3.22 ERA in 288â…“ innings pitched. He also picked up 14 complete games on the year, with 5 shutouts. In 1969, Osteen won 20 games for the first time and set a number of career highs:

  • 20 wins
  • 321 innings
  • 183 strikeouts
  • 7 shutouts
  • 16 complete games
  • 41 starts

Moving towards the 1970s, Osteen was still pitching an amazing average of 260 innings a year, which made people often consider him a link to old-time baseball.

In 1970, Osteen pitched three shutout innings in the all-star game and got the win, a game remembered most by Pete Rose's barreling into Ray Fosse to score the winning run in the 12th inning. Coincidentally, like Osteen, the pitcher and hitter involved in the walkoff single were also Tennessee natives: Jim Hickman (a Dodger teammate of Osteen's in 1967) collected the hit off losing pitcher Clyde Wright (coincidentally, Hickman and Wright would become Comeback Players of the Year in their respective leagues).

In 1972, Osteen had an incredibly strong year finishing with 7 complete game victories in his last 9 starts. That year, he was 20-11 with a 2.64 ERA in 252 innings pitched.

He made his 3rd and final All-Star team in 1973, in his last real quality season, and his last season with the Dodgers. That year, he went 16-11 and had a 3.31 ERA with a 2nd-place Dodger team. In his 33 starts on the season, he had 12 complete games and 3 shutouts. He had won in double figures each year from 1964-1973.

Prior to the 1974 season, the Dodgers traded Osteen to the Houston Astros for outfielder Jimmy Wynn. Wynn helped the Dodgers win the 1974 N.L. pennant.

Osteen played his final game on September 27, 1975 with the White Sox. He was released by them on April 5 of the next year.

Osteen's career statistics included a 196-195 record, a 3.30 ERA, 1612 strikeouts, and 140 complete games (40 shutouts) in 3460â…“ innings pitched and 541 games. He hit 45 batters and threw 67 wild pitches.

As a batter, Osteen had a .188 batting average with 8 home runs and 76 runs batted in.

He later became a pitching coach for the Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers and the Dodgers as well as various minor league teams.


  • 3-time All-Star (1967, 70, 73)
  • Top 10 in the league in games started, 10 times (1964,'65,'66,'67,'68,'69,'70,'71,'72,'75)
  • 2nd in the league in shutouts 3 times (1967,'69,'70), top 10 in the league 3 more times (1971,'72,'73)
  • Top 10 in the league in innings pitched, 6 times (1964,'65,'67,'69,'70,'72)
  • Top 10 in ERA, 3 times (1965,'66,'72)
  • Ranks #71 in all-time innings pitched (3460â…“) [1]
  • Ranks #44 (tie) in all-time shutouts (40) [2]
  • Ranks #46 in all-time games started (488) [3]

See also

External links

Preceded by
Don Rudolph
Washington Senators Opening Day
Starting pitcher

Succeeded by
Phil Ortega
Preceded by
Don Drysdale
Bob Miller
Don Drysdale
Los Angeles Dodgers Opening Day
Starting pitcher

Succeeded by
Bob Miller
Don Drysdale
Bill Singer
Preceded by
Charlie Hough
Los Angeles Dodgers Pitching Coach
Succeeded by
Dave Wallace


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