St. Louis Cardinals legend Bob Gibson passed away on Friday night. He was 84 years old.
The St. Louis Cardinals franchise has already lost one icon this season. Lou Brock passed away on September 6 at 81 years old after battling health issues for years. Now, less than a month later, another Cardinals legend has passed, as Bob Gibson lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 84 years old.
Gibson will always be remembered for his fearlessness and toughness on the mound. He was one of the most intimidating pitchers in the history of the game, a pitcher who still stands as a symbol for pitching dominance. His success in 1968, when he posted an incredible 1.12 ERA, led to the pitching mound being lowered to its current height.
It is amazing to think that Gibson almost never got that far. He battled illnesses as a child, fending off asthma, hay fever, heart problems, pneumonia, and rickets to become a dominant athlete. He headed to Creighton University to play baseball and basketball, and even spent a season with the Harlem Globetrotters.
But Gibson belonged on the mound. He channeled his competitive nature into his high octane fastball and devastating slider, intimidating friend and foe alike with his high heat. It did not matter who was in the batter’s box – home plate was Gibson’s domain and woe unto anyone who dared disrespect him.
That fearlessness and his overpowering stuff made Gibson a legend. He posted a 251-174 record, along with a 2.91 ERA and a 1.188 WHiP in his 17 years in the majors. His lack of command early in his career made him even more intimidating, but Gibson was able to harness his stuff. In his 3884.1 innings, he struck out 3117 batters with just 1336 walks.
Understandably, Gibson had plenty of accolades during his career. He was a nine time All Star and won the NL Cy Young award twice. The 1968 MVP, Gibson was more than just a pitcher – he was an athlete, winning nine Gold Glove awards as well. It was not a surprise when Cooperstown came calling in 1981.
Gibson’s passing also came on the anniversary of one of the greatest World Series pitching performances. 52 years ago to the day, Gibson struck out 17 Detroit Tigers in a complete game shutout, allowing just five hits and a walk. The Tigers only threatened once that game, putting runners on second and third with two outs, but Gibson notched another strikeout to end the rally.
St. Louis Cardinals legend Bob Gibson passed away Friday night at 84 years old. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family.