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Gibson was dominant in October

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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Gibson put it on the Sox in '67
By Fred W. Kiger
Special to ESPN.com


Signature Game

Oct. 12, 1967 - Of Game 7 of the World Series between St. Louis and Boston in Fenway Park, Red Sox first baseman George Scott predicted, "Gibson won't survive five."

Maybe Scott thought Gibson was on his last legs or leg? Back on July 15, Roberto Clemente's line drive had fractured Gibson's right leg and he missed two months of the season. But Gibson came back in September and already had defeated the Red Sox twice in the Series, allowing one run in 18 innings.

In Game 7, the fire and intensity was as strong as ever even if his leg hurt so badly that teammate Curt Flood saw him taking medication several times to kill the pain. Instead, it was the Red Sox who were ailing. Gibson did not give up a hit in the first four innings. In the fifth his solo homer against Boston ace Jim Lonborg boosted the Cardinals' lead to 3-0.

The man with the fire dominated, winning 7-2 as he allowed only three hits and fanned 10. Gibson not only survived the fifth inning, he thrived. So much so that when teammate Lou Brock was asked the turning point in the game, he said simply, "Bob Gibson, Bob Gibson."

Gibson by the numbers

Career Statistics
Year W L Pct. Comp.
Games
ShO Hits Walks SO ERA Opp.
BA
1959 3 5 .375 2 1 77 39 48 3.33 .273
1960 3 6 .333 2 0 97 48 69 5.61 .284
1961 13 12 .520 10 2 186 119 166 3.24 .239
1962 15 13 .536 15 5 174 95 208 2.85 .204
1963 18 9 .667 14 2 224 96 204 3.39 .233
1964 19 12 .613 17 2 250 86 245 3.01 .232
1965 20 12 .625 20 6 243 103 270 3.07 .222
1966 21 12 .636 20 5 210 78 225 2.44 .207
1967 13 7 .650 10 2 151 40 147 2.98 .231
1968 22 9 .710 28 13 198 62 268 1.12 .184
1969 20 13 .606 28 4 251 95 269 2.18 .219
1970 23 7 .767 23 3 262 88 274 3.12 .237
1971 16 13 .552 20 5 215 76 185 3.04 .232
1972 19 11 .633 23 4 226 88 208 2.46 .224
1973 12 10 .545 13 1 159 57 142 2.77 .224
1974 11 13 .458 9 1 236 104 129 3.83 .259
1975 3 10 .231 1 0 120 62 60 5.04 .287
TOTAL 251 174 .591 255 56 3279 1336 3117 2.91 .228
*Statistics in bold denote league leader

Odds 'n' Ends

  • Gibson went to Creighton on a basketball scholarship, the first African-American to receive one at the school. Playing guard, forward and center, the 6-foot-1 Gibson averaged 20.2 points for his career.

  • While primarily playing outfield for Creighton's baseball team, his coach told him during one road trip that because of his color he would have to stay in a hotel on the other side of town. Gibson cried.

  • Although his leg was fractured by Clemente's line drive, Gibson pitched to three more batters before crumbling to the ground again and leaving the game.

  • Gibson grew so tired of reporters' questions on when he would return from the broken leg, he taped a sheet of paper to his shirt that read: "1. Yes, it [the cast] is off. 2. No, it doesn't hurt. 3. I don't know how much longer [before he would be back]."

  • After losing on May 28, 1968, Gibson's record dropped to 3-5. From there, he went 19-4 to finish 22-9.

  • Gibson won his 20th game of 1968 when he blanked the Cincinnati Reds, 1-0, in 10 innings on September 2. It was his 12th shutout and lowered his ERA to 0.99.

  • Gibson finished with 13 shutouts, the most since Grover Alexander's 16 in 1916.

  • Gibson's 1.12 ERA was the lowest ERA in major league history in a season with 300 or more innings pitched.

  • Of Gibson's nine losses in 1968, five were by one run and three were by two. His worst defeat was 5-1 to Ferguson Jenkins and the Cubs.

  • In 1968, the Cardinals averaged fewer than three runs per nine innings when Gibson was on the mound.

  • Gibson was never removed during an inning in 1968, pitching 28 complete games and being lifted for a pinch-hitter in his other six starts.

  • At the 1968 World Series against Detroit, a button above Gibson's locker read, "I'm not prejudiced; I hate everybody." And a sign taped to a stuffed tiger in his locker bore this thought, "A tiger's a 500-pound pussy."

  • Gibson once said, "The middle 13 inches of the plate belonged to the hitters, and the inside two inches and outside two inches were mine."

  • In a spring-training game in the early 1970s, Gibson and equally fiery Tom Seaver of the Mets served notice to one another for the upcoming season. Both benches were stunned when the two beaned each other during the exhibition game.

  • The first time his former roommate, Bill White, batted against Gibson as a Phillie, Gibson hit him.

  • Gibson threw only one knuckleball in his career. Hank Aaron ripped it for a long line drive.

  • In 1972 Gibson became the first major leaguer to strike out 200 or more in nine seasons.

  • When Gibson was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1981, he was just the 11th player to get the nod in the first year of eligibility.

  • Some say that Gibson had a five-pitch repertoire: fastball, slider, curve, changeup and knockdown.

  • Gibson's competitive and fiery demeanor on the mound was such that Mets manager Joe Torre hired him in 1981 to be "our attitude coach."

  • Gibson's competitive desire carried over even to his own family. He once said, "I've played a couple of hundred games of tick-tack-toe with my little daughter and she hasn't beaten me yet. I've always had to win. I've got to win."

  • In an Old-Timers' Game in 1991, Gibson homered into the leftfield seats at Busch Stadium.

  • In 1999, Omaha officials renamed the street just north of Rosenblatt Stadium Bob Gibson Boulevard.

  • At the 1999 All-Star Game, Gibson was named a member of major league baseball's All-Century team.

  • Gibson and his second wife Wendy live in Bellevue, Neb. They have one son. Gibson had two daughters in his first marriage.





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