Gavin Osteen had pitched well, though his record didn't show it. His ERA would finish at a respectable 3.35.
His win-loss record for the 2002 Camden Riversharks, though, was just 4-10.
Pitching that September, Osteen again threw well, giving up just two runs in seven innings of work on the way to a Camden victory. But the win again wouldn't be his.
"I felt in total control," Osteen said after the game, according to OurSportsCentral. "The ball was moving in and out really well. I was still keeping the ball down, still locating. I know I did my job tonight."
Osteen had been doing his job since 13 years earlier, when his professional career began. Doing his job was enough for a long career. But it wasn't enough to make the majors.
Osteen began in 1989, the son of former major leaguer Claude Osteen was taken by the Athletics in the ninth round of the June draft. He pitched that year at short-season Southern Oregon, throwing in 16 games and posting a 3.50 ERA.
His minor league greeting, however, was not a good one. One of his first games, June 21, was one a reporter for The Eugene Register-Guard speculated he'd have nightmares about. Osteen gave up three runs in the fifth on no hits. He also threw five wild pitches, walked three and suffered through an error.
But Osteen got it together. He played 1990 at single-A Madison, going 10-10 with a 3.10 ERA. He made AA Huntsville in 1991. He went eight innings for Huntsville in September 1991, gave up no runs and four hits, according to a newspaper account.
He hit AAA Tacoma in 1992. He would stay at Tacoma through 1994. In July 1993, Osteen pitched six innings, giving up three hits, none after the second, according to the AP. He finished that year with an ERA north of 5. He did the same in 1994.
He then missed the next two years. His career became "injury plagued." Returning in 1997 for AA Bowie, Osteen pitched well, with a 2.05 ERA. He returned to AAA, at Rochester, for 1998. It was the Dodgers system for 1999, Pittsburgh's in 2000.
That was also his first taste of independent ball, where he would largely stay through the end of his career.
Osteen now works teaching hitting and pitching to young players through the Full Count outfit in Pennsylvania. He started teaching while playing, according to the Full Count Osteen bio.
"I loved playing pro ball," Osteen is quoted as saying on the site, "but at the end of my career, I found that I was getting much more satisfaction teaching kids the game than playing it. ... This is where I'm supposed to be."
Read the August 2013 interview: Gavin Osteen, Fine Tuned
- Eugene Register-Guard, June 22, 1989: Ems unload on Athletics, 14-4
- Seattle Times, Associated Press, Aug. 1, 1993: Osteen Pitches Tacoma Past Edmonton, 4-1
- OurSportsCentral.com, Sept. 5, 2002: Collum gives Osteen enough support
- Full Count: Gavin Osteen bio
Cards Reviewed: 200/880 - 22.7%
Players/Coaches Reviewed: 203
Made the Majors: 140 - 69%
Never Made the Majors: 63 - 31%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 60
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 66