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Bob Gibson

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Bob Gibson

A photo of Bob Gibson.

Pack Robert "Bob" Gibson (born November 9, 1935 in Omaha, Nebraska) was a right-handed baseball pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1959 to 1975. His record-setting career led to his election to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981.

Youth and early careerEdit

Despite a childhood filled with health problems, including rickets, asthma, pneumonia, and a heart murmur, he was active in sports as a youth, particularly baseball and basketball. He won a basketball scholarship to Creighton University.

Baseball Hof
Bob Gibson
is a member of
the Baseball
Hall of Fame

In 1957, Gibson received a US$4,000.00 bonus to sign with the Cardinals. He delayed his start with the organization for a year, playing with the Harlem Globetrotters, earning the nickname "Bullet" Bob Gibson (his nickname in baseball was "Hoot", after Hoot Gibson, the cowboy and silent movie star). In 1958 he spent a year at the triple-A farm club in Omaha. He graduated to the major leagues in 1959 and had the first of nine 200-strikeout seasons in 1962.

The Dominator Edit

In the eight seasons from 1963 to 1970, he won 156 games and lost 81. He won nine Gold Glove Awards, was awarded the World Series MVP Award in 1964 and 1967, and won Cy Young Awards in 1968 and 1970. His 1967 World Series was amazing. Gibson allowed only three earned runs over three complete game victories(Games 1, 4, & 7), also hitting a vital home run in Game 7. Gibson was 2-1 in the 1964 World Series (won vs. Yankees) and 2-1 in 1968 (lost vs. Tigers). He never had another chance to pitch in World Series. His 8 consecutive complete games in the World Series was 2nd to Chief Bender"s record of 9 consecutive complete games. His ERA in 1968 was 1.12, which is a modern record. He threw 13 shutouts, and allowed only two earned runs in 92 straight innings of pitching. He also won the National League MVP. In Game 1 of the 1968 World Series, he struck out 17 Detroit Tigers including the last one on Tiger Willie Horton to set a still World Series record for strikeouts in 1 game. His season was so successful that it contributed to the lowering of the pitcher's mound by five inches for 1969. The change had only a slight effect on him; he went 20-13 that year, with a 2.18 ERA. Some say that his 13 shutout season may never be repeated by anyone again given the heavier emphasis on pitch counts and relief pitching today.

On August 14 1971, at Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium in a night game, he pitched his only career no-hitter in a 11-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

He was the second pitcher in MLB history (after Walter Johnson) to strike out over 3,000 batters, the first to do so in the National League. He accomplished this at home (St. Louis' Busch Stadium) on July 17, 1974 by striking out the Cincinnati Reds' Cesar Geronimo (who had the dubious distinction of also being Nolan Ryan's 3000th strikeout victim).

Gibson was also one of the best-hitting pitchers of all time. For his career, he batted .206 with 24 home runs (plus two more in the World Series) and 144 RBIs. He is one of only two pitchers since World War II with a career batting average of .200 or higher and with at least 20 home runs and 100 RBIs (fellow Hall of Famer and former Major League manager Bob Lemon is the other).

Don't Mess With 'Hoot'Edit

Gibson was known for pitching inside to batters. Dusty Baker received the following advice from Hank Aaron about facing Gibson:

"'Don't dig in against Bob Gibson, he'll knock you down. Don't stare at him. He doesn't like it. If you happen to hit a home run, don't run too slow, don't run too fast. If you happen to want to celebrate, get in the tunnel first. And if he hits you, don't charge the mound, because he's a Gold Glove boxer.' I'm like, 'Damn, what about my 17-game hitting streak?' That was the night it ended." [1]

Gibson maintained this image even into retirement. In 1992, an Old-Timers' game was played at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego as part of the All-Star Game festivities, and Reggie Jackson hit a home run off Gibson. When the 1993 edition of the game was played, the 57-year-old Gibson threw the 47-year-old Jackson a brushback pitch. The pitch was not especially fast and did not hit Jackson, but the message was delivered, and Jackson did not get a hit.

Honors Edit

His number 45 is retired by the St. Louis Cardinals, and in 1981, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame. Gibson was the only candidate selected by the BBWAA to the "Hall" that year.

In 1999, he ranked Number 31 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

ReferencesEdit

For a vivid depiction of the man and the times he pitched in, see David Halberstam's October 1964 (ISBN 0679433384; reprint ISBN 0449983676).

External linksEdit

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