Gustine was signed by Pie Traynor as a 16-year-old prospect and was 19 when he joined
the Pirates as a third baseman in Traynor's last season as manager. With his mentor
gone, Gustine was shifted between second base and shortstop. His progress was also
hindered by a chronic double hernia and assorted injuries. Finally, in 1947, he returned
to Traynor's old position and led NL third basemen in putouts, assists, errors, and
double plays while he had his best season offensively (.297, nine HR, 67 RBI, 102
runs). He was an All-Star at second base in 1946 and at third base in 1947-48.
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»May 15, 1940:
In the Pirates 5–2 loss to the Giants, only three Bucs bat in the 2nd, but all reach base. Maurice Van Robays singles and is picked off; Vince DiMaggio walks and is forced at 2B by Frankie Gustine, who is caught stealing.
»May 5, 1946:
In a Bucs' doubleheader sweep at Pittsburgh, the Dodgers attract an overflow crowd that spills onto the field and is held back by ropes. There are nine "crowd doubles" as the Pirates win, 5–4 in 11 innings and 4–3. The double loss drops the Bums out of a first place tie with the Cards. In game 2, Preacher Roe relieves Nick Strincevich with two outs in the top of sixth with the score tied 3–3. With a six p.m. curfew looming, pinch runner Bob Ramazzotti tries to steal home on Roe's 1st pitch and is tagged out by C Bill Salkeld. In the bottom of the 6th, Frankie Gustine drives in the winning run with a crowd double, and the game is called, giving Roe a one-pitch win.
»August 2, 1947:
The Giants hit five homers and set a club record of 144 in a split with the Pirates. The Ottmen take the lidlifter, 10–2, then lose, 5–4. Bobby Thomson has a pair of homers. The Pirates also tie a club record for homers with 86 as Hank Greenberg and Frankie Gustine go deep.
»May 21, 1948: Frankie Gustine is 5-for-5 to lead Pittsburgh to an 8–4 win over the Dodgers.
»December 13, 1949: The Browns send star 3B Bob Dillinger (.324) and OF Paul Lehner to the A's for a reported $100,000 and infielders Frankie Gustine, Bill DeMars, and outfielders Ray Coleman, and Ray Ippolitto. Dillinger will play just a half-season in Philley before being swapped to Pittsburgh.