Otago Daily Times

Cardinals pitcher ad­mired and feared by bat­ters

- BOB GIB­SON

Base­ball great

BOB GIB­SON, a Base­ball Hall of Famer and St Louis Cardinals leg­end, was one of the game’s most suc­cess­ful and most feared pitch­ers.

He died in his home­town of Omaha, Ne­braska, after a year­long de­cline due to pan­cre­atic can­cer, on Oc­to­ber 2, aged 84.

Gib­son played his en­tire ma­jor league ca­reer with the Cardinals, from 1959­75, lead­ing the club to World Series cham­pi­onships in 1964 and 1967 and grab­bing World Series MVP hon­ours each time.

He was a nine­time All­Star, the Na­tional League Cy Young Award win­ner in1968 and 1970, the NL most val­ued player in 1968 and a nine­time

Gold Glove hon­ouree.

Gib­son’s 1.12 ERA in 1968 is a mod­ern­era record that still stands, and he fin­ished 22­9 with 13 shutouts and a league­lead­ing 268 strike­outs that year. His dom­i­nant per­for­mance helped con­vince Ma­jor League Base­ball to lower the height of the pitcher’s mound the fol­low­ing sea­son.

In his sec­ond Cy Young sea­son two years later, Gib­son led the NL in wins while go­ing 23­7 with a 3.12 ERA.

Gib­son fin­ished with a 251­174 record and a 2.91 ERA in 528 ca­reer ap­pear­ances (482 starts). He struck out 3117 bat­ters, still 14th on the all­time list and walked 1336 in 3884 in­nings.

In the spot­light of the World Series, Gib­son was al­most al­ways at his best, fin­ish­ing 7­2 with a 1.89 ERA in nine starts. He earned two wins as the Cardinals edged the New York Yankees in seven games in1964, then went 3­0 with a 1.00 ERA in a se­v­engame tri­umph over the Bos­ton Red Sox in 1967. In the lat­ter series, he threw com­plete games in Games 1, 4 and 7.

Gib­son also be­came leg­endary for his will­ing­ness to throw near or at op­pos­ing bat­ters to keep them off home plate.

Cardinals pitcher Jack Fla­herty had been men­tored by Gib­son in re­cent years.

‘‘He’s a leg­end, first and fore­most, and some­body who I was lucky enough to de­velop a re­la­tion­ship with and I was lucky enough to learn from, and you don’t get that from peo­ple like that very of­ten,’’ Fla­herty said.

‘‘You don’t get the op­por­tu­nity to learn from some­body of that cal­i­bre and some­body who was that good very of­ten. I’m in­cred­i­bly thank­ful to have had a re­la­tion­ship with him and to have learned what I learned from him.

‘‘The last mes­sage I got from him was, ‘Be a man. Be you.’ Pretty sim­ple. So, you know, you take that to heart.’’

Gib­son was elected to the Base­ball Hall of Fame the first time he ap­peared on the bal­lot, in 1981, re­ceiv­ing 84% of the votes.

At the end of his in­duc­tion speech, Gib­son said, ‘‘I want to be re­mem­bered as a per­son, a com­peti­tor, that gave 100% ev­ery time I went out on the field. Some­times I wasn’t too good, but no­body could ac­cuse me of cheat­ing them out of what they paid to see.’’ — Field Level Me­dia

 ?? PHOTO: REUTERS ?? Saintly per­former . . . St Louis Cardinals hall of famer Bob Gib­son after throw­ing out the cer­e­mo­nial first pitch be­fore a 2018 Ma­jor League Base­ball game at Busch Sta­dium.
PHOTO: REUTERS Saintly per­former . . . St Louis Cardinals hall of famer Bob Gib­son after throw­ing out the cer­e­mo­nial first pitch be­fore a 2018 Ma­jor League Base­ball game at Busch Sta­dium.

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