One of the greats from back in the day when baseball was great!
Hall of Famer Bob Gibson, the dominating St. Louis Cardinals pitcher who won a record seven consecutive World Series starts and set a modern standard for excellence when he finished the 1968 season with a 1.12 ERA, died Friday. He was 84.
The Cardinals confirmed Gibson’s death shortly after a 4-0 playoff loss to San Diego ended their season. He had long been ill with pancreatic cancer in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.
Gibson’s death came on the 52nd anniversary of perhaps his most overpowering performance, when he struck out a World Series record 17 batters in Game 1 of the 1968 World Series against Detroit.
Bob Gibson Gallery
One of baseball’s most uncompromising competitors, the two-time Cy Young Award winner spent his entire 17-year career with St. Louis and was named the World Series MVP in their 1964 and ’67 championship seasons. The Cards came up just short in 1968, but Gibson was voted the National League’s MVP and shut down opponents so well that baseball changed the rules for fear it would happen again.
Gibson died less than a month after the death of a longtime teammate, Hall of Fame outfielder Lou Brock. Another pitching great from his era, Tom Seaver, died in late August.
“I just heard the news about losing Bob Gibson and it’s kind of hard losing a legend. You can lose a game, but when you lose a guy like Bob Gibson, just hard…….Bob was funny, smart, he brought a lot of energy. When he talked, you listened. It was good to have him around every year. We lose a game, we lose a series, but the tough thing is we lost one great man.”Yadier Molina
At his peak, Gibson may have been the most talented all-around starter in history, a nine-time Gold Glove winner who roamed wide to snatch up grounders despite a fierce, sweeping delivery that drove him to the first base side of the mound; and a strong hitter who twice hit five home runs in a single season and batted .303 in 1970, when he also won his second Cy Young.
Baseball wasn’t his only sport, either. He also starred in basketball at Creighton and spent a year with the Harlem Globetrotters before totally turning his attention to the diamond.
Averaging 19 wins a year from 1963-72, he finished 251-174 with a 2.91 ERA, and was only the second pitcher to reach 3,000 strikeouts. He didn’t throw as hard as Sandy Koufax, or from as many angles as Juan Marichal, but batters never forgot how he glared at them (or squinted, because he was near-sighted) as if settling an ancient score.
Gibson snubbed opposing players and sometimes teammates who dared speak to him on a day he was pitching, and he didn’t even spare his own family.
“I’ve played a couple of hundred games of tic-tac-toe with my little daughter and she hasn’t beaten me yet……I’ve always had to win. I’ve got to win.”Bob Gibson
Equally disciplined and impatient, Gibson worked so quickly that broadcaster Vin Scully joked that he pitched as if his car was double-parked.
Ball in hand, he was no nonsense on the hill. And he had no use for advice, scowling whenever catcher Tim McCarver or anyone else thought of visiting the mound.
“The only thing you know about pitching is you can’t hit it.”Bob Gibson