PITTSBURGH -- Frank Gustine, a former Pittsburgh Pirates All- Star infielder, died of a heart attack Monday in Davenport, Iowa, while on a riverboat gambling excursion. He was 71.
Gustine, a Pittsburgh restaurateur, was one of 158 guests from Pittsburgh who were in Davenport for the inaugural voyage of The President as a legal riverboat casino on the Mississippi River.
He collapsed shortly after the boat, owned by Pittsburgh businessman John Connelly, had completed its maiden voyage.
Gustine joined the Pirates in 1939 and played with them through the 1948 season. He then played one year for the Chicago Cubs and one year for the St. Louis Browns in the American League.
He was named to the National League All-Star team in 1946, 1947 and 1948. He had a lifetime batting average of .265 with 38 home runs and 480 runs batted in.
Dan Galbreath, former owner of the Pirates, recalled Gustine as 'a fine gentleman and a fine ball player.'
'I remember him well and he certainly was one of the stars we had back in those days,' Galbreath said.
Baseball Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner, who roomed with Gustine during his early years with the Pirates, said he was 'one of the great guys of all time.'
'Frankie Gustine was a wonderful person,' Kiner said. 'If you couldn't get along with him, you couldn't get along with anybody.'
In 1953, Gustine and two associates opened a restaurant bearing his name in the city's Oakland section. It was a gathering place for the local sports stars, writers and broadcasters until it was sold in 1983.
At the time of his death, Gustine was a general partner with Connelly in the Sheraton Inn at Pittsburgh's Station Square. Connelly also owns the Gateway Clipper Fleet.