On this date, 85 years ago, legendary Hall of Famer Bob Gibson was born.
Bob Gibson may be the greatest pitcher of all time. His career will probably never be matched. Let’s take a look at just the stats from Gibson’s 1968 MVP campaign.
- 34 Starts
- 28 Complete Games
- 13 Shutouts
- 268 Strikeouts
- 1.12 ERA
- 0.853 WHIP
- Cy Young and MVP
The next pitcher to win the NL MVP was Clayton Kershaw in 2014. In that year, compared to Gibson’s ’68 season, Kershaw threw 22 less complete games, 11 less shutouts, 29 less strikeouts, a higher ERA, and a higher WHIP. It’s two completely different era’s, but that is why I don’t think there will ever be a pitcher that posts a season like Gibson’s 1968.
Gibson dominated the league so much in ’68 that the MLB had to change the dimensions of the mound from 15 inches tall to 10 inches. He was so great they had to nerf pitchers!
You would think a player who posted a 1.12 ERA in the regular season couldn’t get any better, but even after the mound was changed, Gibson went on to win 20 and 23 games the following two years.
Regular season success aside, Bob Gibson thrived when the pressure was hardest. In 1964, he threw 27 innings over the course of eight days in the World Series, including a 10-inning complete game on three days’ rest in game 5. Just two days later, he would return to the mound and throw ANOTHER complete game in game 7 to win the series. To no surprise, he earned himself the World Series MVP. Could you imagine the backlash if a manager today kept a pitcher out there for 9 innings just TWO days after throwing 10 innings?!
Can it get any better than that? Yes. How about doing it AGAIN in 1967 right after missing 52 games because of an ankle injury. Gibson would return to the mound just in time for the World Series where he then threw three complete games with 26 KO’s and a 1.00 ERA to win the World Series MVP once again.
A year later, in his historical 1968 season, what would happen again? You guessed it. Another dominate showing in the World Series. Gibson, once again, pitched in 27 innings in the series posting a 1.67 ERA. In game one he broke Sandy Koufax’s record for most strikeouts in a postseason game with 17. Unfortunately, the Cardinals fell to the Tigers 4-1 in game 7, just barely missing out on the third World Series MVP for Bob Gibson.
The Postseason stats stand out above the rest for Gibson, because they are just so hard to ignore. But he excelled in all aspects of the game. He won nine Gold Gloves in his career, the third most for a pitcher in MLB history. He hit 24 home runs in his career, the seventh most for a pitcher in MLB history, including two in the World Series.
Bob Gibson was just an athlete, no argument. He played both baseball and basketball at Creighton and even played on the Harlem Globetrotters prior to his MLB career.
In Gibson’s Hall of Fame speech, he wanted his legacy to be remembered.
“I want to be remembered as a person and competitor that gave 100% every time I went out on the field.”
I think it’s safe to say, he was most definitely that person.
Rest in Peace, Bob Gibson