On Friday, October 2nd, the sports world said good-bye to one of the most iconic baseball players in the game’s history. Bob Gibson died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 82 in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. Gibson had been battling the disease since the summer of 2019.
A true hall of famer
Gibson’s resume is beyond impressive. His baseball reference page is riddled with black ink and eye-popping numbers. Not to mention, there is a case to be made that he is the best postseason pitcher the game has ever seen.
Gibson first debuted for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1959, at the age of 23. He would make his first of 8 all-star games in 1962. From that year until his last all-star nod in 1972, Gibson never had higher than a 3.39 ERA.
Gibson also made a career out of finishing what he started. He retired with 255 complete games. 255. He racked up 56 over 1968 and 1969. To put that in perspective, Cleveland Indian Shane Bieber led the American League with 3 CGs in 2019.
The world still remembers Gibson’s 1968 campaign. In 34 games, he struck out 268 batters in 304 1/3 innings. He wracked up 28 compete games, 13 of which were shutouts. And oh yeah, he posted a 1.12 era.
On the baseball reference page dedicated to the lowest single-season ERA’s, he is the only man not pictured in black in white. He was so unbelievable, MLB had to lower the mound for the 1969 season to help out the hitters.
Delivered when it mattered
In-game 1 of the 1968 Fall Classic against the Detroit Tigers, Gibson was spectacular. He punched out 17 Tigers while only allowing 6 base-runners in, (what else?), but a complete game shutout.
Gibson played most of his career before the League Championship Series was established. His 3 times reaching the postseason, he only pitched in the World Series. This setup did not seem to bother him.
His World Series numbers are otherworldly. In 9 starts, he accumulated 92 strikeouts over 81 innings. His era is a cool 1.89, with a slick 7-2 record. He walked away with 2 World Series MVPs and grabbed 2 out of a possible 3 rings.
Red Sox fans will remember how he crushed their “Impossible Dream” in 1967. In 3 starts, he completed 3 games, allowed 3 total runs, and won all 3 contests. He even homered at Fenway in his game 7 clinching victory. One of the most obvious WS MVPs ever given.
Gibson’s intensity poured out of him on the mound. He was famous for not fraternizing with opponents, even during all-star games. His wind-up made for an uncomfortable at-bat.
He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981, his first year on the ballot, with 84% of the vote. Gibson was truly one of the all-time greats.
Story by Chad Jones