He played three seasons in Major League Baseball, from 1901 to 1903, for the Brooklyn Superbas and Cleveland Bronchos/Naps. He appeared in 264 major league games, all as a shortstop. He has been called by some the worst major league baseball player in history.
Minor leagues Gochnaur began his professional baseball career with the Portsmouth Browns in 1896 as a second baseman.
After short stints with the Roanoke Magicians and the Hagerstown Lions, he moved to Brockton, Massachusetts to join the New England League"s Brockton Shoemakers for the 1897-1898 seasons. In 1899, he played for the Paterson Giants of the Atlantic League.
He relocated to Dayton, Ohio around the turn of the century, and had a career year with the Dayton Veterans in 1900, when he batted.278 with one home run, six triples and 28 doubles. This was also the year when he was moved to shortstop full-time, where he played the rest of his professional career.
He put up similar numbers for the Dayton Old Soldiers in 1901, including a career-high 14 triples, before being acquired by the Brooklyn Superbas toward the end of the season.
Brooklyn In three games for the Superbas at the end of the 1901 season, Gochnaur collected four hits and a walk in twelve plate appearances. Though he committed no errors on the field, Gochnaur displayed limited range at short. Following the season, he moved on to the Cleveland Bronchos.
Cleveland Gochnaur batted.185 with no home runs and 37 runs batted in as the starting shortstop for Cleveland in 1902.
Despite 48 errors, including five in one doubleheader, his.933 fielding percentage was third best in the league. He was handed the starting job for a second season, in which he again batted.185 with no home runs.
The 98 errors he committed at short were, however, too much for manager Bill Armour to bear. In 1904, Terry Turner took over at shortstop for Cleveland.
Gochnaur hung around the independent circuit through 1907 before hanging up his glove and becoming an umpire.
He also was an Altoona police officer, a Penn railroad policeman and bartender. He died of pneumonia at the age of 53. Along with holding the distinction of being the last major leaguer to commit ninety errors in a season, Gochnaur holds the record for most at bats without a home run by a player with a career batting average below.200.
He also holds the single season record for RBIs by a player with a career average under.200 (48, 1903).