Otago Daily Times
Cardinals pitcher admired and feared by batters
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