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Frank Pastore dies after four weeks in coma; former Reds pitcher was 55

David Brown
Big League Stew

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Frank Pastore, who pitched nearly 1,000 innings in the major leagues, mostly for the Cincinnati Reds in the 1980s, died Monday at age 55. Pastore had been in a coma for four weeks after sustaining injuries in a motorcycle accident. KKLA-FM radio, a Christian station in Southern California where Pastore was a host, reported his death. The KKLA page includes a link to a prophetic soundbite by Pastore that describes what might happen to him if another driver were to cut him off as he rode his motorcycle home. Kind of spooky.

That's how he died. But Pastore seemed to live a full life, even if it was cut short in time.

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If you collected baseball cards in the early 1980s like I did, you knew who Frank Pastore was. A second-round pick in 1975, Pastore was a 22-year-old rookie four years later when he started Game 2 of the NLCS against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Standing 6-foot-2 and 188 pounds, Pastore limited Pittsburgh to two runs over seven innings. The Bucs won in extras — Pastore didn't get a decision — and Cincy fell in a three-game sweep. It would be the final postseason hurrah for the remaining members of the Big Red Machine — players such as Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, George Foster and Dave Concepcion.

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Pastore continued to pitch well in 1980, finishing with a 3.27 ERA in 184 innings. He was mediocre in 1981 and '82, and the rest of his career with the Reds was one of diminishing returns. Steve Sax of the Dodgers hit a line drive off Pastore's right elbow in June 1984, and, Pastore says, his abilities were never the same thereafter. He was released in April 1986 and finished the season with the Minnesota Twins. He pitched four games with the Texas Rangers organization at Triple-A in 1987, but that's where his career ended.

By the time his baseball career had ended, he already had started to develop mental and spiritual interests. He earned degrees in business, religion, ethics, political science and theology at several universities. He wrote a book, and was a radio host with KKLA since 2004.

And check this out: In 1987, he downed a 72-ounce steak dinner at the world-famous Big Texan in a reported 9 1/2 minutes! It was a record until 2008.

The Inland Daily Bulletin also had details on Pastore's life. He is survived by wife, Gina, son, Frank Jr., and daughter, Christina.

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