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L E’s Stories – “Don’t Mess With Hoot” – Tribute To Cardinals Ace Bob Gibson

Baseball pitching legend Bob Gibson passed away today, October 2, 2020….which sparked some wonderful memories of Bone Daddy…..cuz he grew up being a “die hard New York Yankee fan”….but when had to pick a National League team for various contests and/or events like a whiffle-ball World Series….when BD was the National League, he would pick the Cards….so, I’d have to say that BD was a St Louis Cards fan too…..which all started with his adoration of St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame pitcher Dizzy Dean…..not so much as the pitcher….albeit he was the 2nd best Cards pitcher of all time….but because Dizzy played in the 1930’s……which was before BD’s time….as still the fact remains that BD loved “The Old Pro” (Dizzy) more for his announcing of live baseball games on radio and television…..where he had a talent of calling a game like none other….as he would describe things like a line drive as “a blue darter” (BD still refers to “liners” as “blue darters” still today in 2020)….cuz back when Dizzy was behind the mike for a live TV telecasts…..and the telecast went to commercials….there was an animated version of Dizzy Dean as “The Old Pro”…..who was   “pitching” Pabst Blue Ribbon beer…..so, by the time the 1960’s came around…..of which BD was “distant” member of the “sex, drugs and rock n roll”  generation….albeit, he just didn’t know it until he got to college…..cuz up until then, his was a generational membership in spirit only…..cuz Pops ruled with an iron hand when it came to drugs…..while commenting that rock n roll sounds like catgut running thru his ears, which meant that he couldn’t stand to listen to it….and BD was too young for sex, which was also something that appeared while at college….but in the meantime, Pops was enough a baseball fan that at night he and the boys would listen to legendary sportscaster Harry Caray bring the St. Louis Cardinals baseball games on KMOX throughout the decade of the 1960’s….which they could pick up on a transistor radio….when the Cards won three NLCS in 1964, 1967 and 1968….with World Series in 1964 and 1967….with  pitcher Bob Gibson as their most dominant player.  An interesting side note to how BD became a Cards fan (at least in the National League)) is that during 1963 late 1964, the nephew of Dizzy Dean and son of Daffy (Paul) Dean (Dizzy’s brother) lived in a one bedroom apartment which was part of Bone Daddy’s family home in Midland….while playing pitcher for the Midland Cubs AA franchise….so, this story has a lot of roots and inroads to the St Louis Cardinals…..and why today seems like a good day to honor Bob Gibson with this showcase of his life and career in tribute to the best Cardinal pitcher of all time.                                                      

MLB – 1959 To 1975 – Sports Century Documentary – Bob Gibson

Bob Gibson’s baseball feats included 2 x World Series MVPs (only Sandy Koufax and Reggie Jackson have matched him since)….1968 National League MVP ….2 x Cy Young Awards….victories in seven consecutive World Series starts….8 x All-Star seasons….9 x Gold Glove Awards…..along with being a 1st ballot induction into Cooperstown…..but for all of Gibson’s striking achievements….the truth be known is that his greatest legacy is the way he competed…..as opponents feared him as much as they revered him at the same time….cuz this graceful right-hander terrified batters with his inside fastball and accompanying scowl.                                                                                                                                                           

MLB – 2018 – KSDK News Special – “50 Years Later: The Legend Of Bob Gibson”                                                                                                                       

Bob Gibson (November 9, 1935 – October 2, 2020) was an American professional baseball pitcher…..who played 17 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1959 to 1975. Nicknamed “Gibby” and “Hoot” (after actor Hoot Gibson), Gibson tallied 251 wins….3,117 strikeouts….and a 2.91 earned run average  (ERA) during his career….while being a 9 x All-Star….and 2 x World Series champion….2 x Cy Young Awards….and the 1968 National League (NL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award.  “Gibby” was known for a fiercely competitive nature….and for intimidating opposing batters….and was elected in 1981 to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. The Cardinals retired his uniform number 45 in September 1975….and inducted him into the team Hall of Fame in 2014.

 

MLB & News – October 2, 2020 – Fox 2 St Louis News Report – St Louis HOF Bob Gibson Dies At 84

Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Gibson overcame childhood illness to excel in youth sports, particularly basketball and baseball. After briefly playing under contract to both the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team and the St. Louis Cardinals organization, Gibson decided to continue playing only baseball professionally. He became a full-time starting pitcher in July 1961….and earned his first All-Star appearance in 1962.  Gibson won two of three games he pitched in the 1964 World Series….then won 20 games in a season for the first time in 1965. Gibson also pitched three complete game victories in the 1967 World Series. The pinnacle of Gibson’s career was 1968…. when he posted a 1.12 ERA for the season….while recording 17 strikeouts in Game 1 of the 1968 World Series.                                 

MLB – 1964 – World Series Highlights – New York Yankees Vs St Louis Cardinals

Gibson threw a no-hitter in 1971, but began experiencing swelling in his knee in subsequent seasons. After retiring as a player in 1975, Gibson later served as pitching coach for his former teammate Joe Torre. At one time a special instructor coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, Gibson was later selected for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999. Gibson was the author of the memoir Pitch by Pitch, with Lonnie Wheeler. Gibson died of pancreatic cancer on October 2, 2020.                                                               

MLB – 1964 – The Ed Sullivan Show – Featuring Cards Pitcher Bob Gibson On The Guitar

While at Creighton, Gibson majored in sociology, and continued to experience success playing basketball. At the end of Gibson’s junior basketball season, he averaged 22 points per game, and made third team Jesuit All-American.  As his graduation from Creighton approached, the spring of 1957 proved to be a busy time for Gibson. Aside from getting married, Gibson had garnered the interest of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team and the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team.  In 1957, Gibson received a $3,000 bonus (a notable sum at that time) to sign with the Cardinals He delayed his start with the organization for a year, playing basketball with the Globetrotters. However, he gave up as a travelling member due to long travels and many double-headers.                                                                                                                                                                            

Basketball – 1958 – The Harlem Globe In Amsterdam, Holland – With Rookie Bob Gibson

Gibson was assigned to the Cardinals’ big league roster for the start of the 1959 season….while recording his Major League debut on April 15 as a relief pitcher….when he was reassigned to the Cardinals minor league affiliate in Omaha soon after….but Gibson returned to the Major Leagues on July 30 as a starting pitcher….and earned his first MLB win that day.  Gibson’s experience in 1960 was similar, pitching nine innings for the Cardinals before shuffling between the Cardinals and their Rochester affiliate until mid-June…..when after posting a 3–6 record with a 5.61 ERA, Gibson traveled to Venezuela to participate in winter baseball at the conclusion of the 1960 season….then Cards manager Solly Hemus shuffled Gibson between the bullpen and the starting pitching rotation for the first half of the 1961 season….when in a 2011 documentary, Gibson indicated that Hemus’s racial prejudice played a major role in his misuse of Gibson….as well as of teammate  Curt Flood….who were both told by Hemus that they would not make it as major league players….and should try something else…..and that is when Hemus was replaced as the Cards manager in July 1961 by Johnny Keane….who had been Gibson’s manager on the Omaha minor league affiliate several years prior.  Keane and Gibson shared a positive professional relationship….and Keane immediately moved Gibson into the starting pitching rotation full-time. Gibson proceeded to compile an 11–6 record the remainder of the year….while posting a 3.24 ERA for the full season.  Off the field, Bill White, Curt Flood and Gibson started a civil rights movement to make all players live in the same clubhouse and hotel rooms….and led the St. Louis Cardinals to become the first sports team to end segregation….which was 3 years before President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the “Great Society” legislation in 1964.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

MLB – 1959 To 1975 – Special – MLB Remembers Hall of Famer And Legend Bob Gibson

In late May of the 1962 season Gibson pitched 22⅔ consecutive scoreless innings on his way to being named to his first National League All-Star team.  Because of an additional All-Star Game played each season from 1959 to 1962, Gibson was named to the second 1962 N.L. All-Star game as well, where he pitched two innings.  After suffering a fractured ankle late in the season, Gibson, sometimes referred to by the nickname “Hoot” (a reference to western film star Hoot Gibson), still finished 1962 with his first 200 plus strikeout season.  The rehabilitation of Gibson’s ankle was a slow process….and by May 19 of the 1963 season he had recorded only one win.  Gibson then turned to rely on his slider and two different fastball pitches to reel off six straight wins prior to late July…..as Gibson and all other National League pitchers benefited from a rule change that expanded the strike zone above the belt buckle.  Adding to his pitching performances was Gibson’s offensive production….with his 20 RBI’s outmatching the combined RBI output of entire pitching staffs on other National League teams.  Even with Gibson’s 18 wins and the extra motivation of teammate Stan Musial’s impending retirement, the Cardinals finished six games out of first place.                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

MLB – 2009 – Special Interview – Hall Of Famers Bob Gibson + Reggie Jackson Discuss “Who Owns the Plate?”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Building on their late-season pennant run in 1963, the 1964 Cardinals developed a strong camaraderie that was noted for being free of the racial tension that predominated in the United States at that time….as  part of this atmosphere stemmed from the integration of the team’s spring training hotel in 1960….as Gibson and teammate Bill White worked to confront and stop use of racial slurs within the team….when on August 23, the Cardinals were 11 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies….and were still 6.5 games behind on September 21….but the combination of a nine-game Cards winning streak….along with a ten-game Phillies losing streak….which brought the season down to the final game….as the Cardinals faced the New York Mets….and Gibson entered the game as a relief pitcher in the fifth inning….while being aware that the Phillies were ahead of the Cincinnati Reds 4–0 at the time he entered the game….that is when Gibson proceeded to pitch four innings of two-hit relief….while his teammates scored 11 runs of support to earn the victory.                                                                                                                                                                           

MLB – 1967 – World Series Highlights – St Louis Cardinals Vs Boston Red Sox

They next faced the New York Yankees in the 1964 World Series….. when Hoot was matched against Yankees starting pitcher Mel Stottlemyre for three of the Series’ seven games….with “Gibby” losing Game 2….then winning Game 5…..and then in Game 7, Gibson….who only had 2 days rest….pitched into the ninth inning….where he allowed home runs to Phil Linz and Clete Boyer….thus making the score 7–5 Cardinals….and with Ray Sadecki and Barney Schultz warming up in the Cardinal bullpen….that is when Gibson retired Bobby Richardson for the final out….while giving the Cardinals their first World Championship since 1946.  Along with his two victories, Gibson set a new World Series record by striking out 31 batters.                                                                                                                                                                                                      

MLB – 2014 – Steiner Sports Interwiew – With Joe Torre On Catching Bob Gibson In The All Star Game

Gibson made the All-Star team again in the 1965 season….and when the Cardinals were well out of the pennant race by August….that is when attention turned on Gibson to see if he could win 20 games for the first time….as Gibson was still looking for win # 20 on the last day of the season….which was a game where new Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst rested many of the regular players….but Gibson still prevailed against the Houston Astros by a score of 5–2.                                                                                                                                         

MLB – 1959 To 1975 – Special Film – Hall Of Fame Players Talk About Bob Gibson’s Intimidation Factor

The 1966 season marked the opening of Busch Memorial Stadium for the Cardinals…..and Gibson was selected to play in the All-Star Game in front of the hometown crowd that year as well…..for this was probably the most insignificant year of pitching that Bob Gibson had in MLB…..but it was only a “lull before the storm” which took place in Hoot‘s career….cuz 1967 and 1968 would afford nothing but pitching legend in MLB history…..as Gibby was almost unbeatable.                                                                                                         

MLB – 1968 – Special Film – Bob Gibson: Pitching Excellence With 1.12 ERA For The Season

The Cardinals built a 3.5 game lead prior to the 1967 season All-Star break….as Gibson pitched the 7th and 8th innings of the 1967 All-Star game.  Gibson then faced the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 15….when Roberto Clemente hit a line drive off Gibson’s right leg….albeit unaware his leg had been fractured, Gibson faced three more batters before his right fibula bone snapped above the ankle…..then after Gibson returned on September 7, the Cardinals secured the National League pennant on September 18….while being 10½ games ahead of the San Francisco Giants.  In the 1967 World Series against the Boston Red Sox, Gibson allowed only three earned runs and 14 hits over three complete game victories in Games 1, 4 (five-hit shutout) and 7….as the latter two marks tied Christy Mathewson’s 1905 World Series record….then just as he had done in 1964, Gibson pitched a complete game victory in Game 7 against Cy Young winner Jim Lonborg….who had pitched a 1-hitter in game 2…. and contributed offensively by hitting a home run that made the game 3–0…..as Bob Gibson became the only pitcher to be on the mound for the final out of Game 7 of a World Series multiple times.  Unlike his last win as World Series MVP, he finally got the men’s suit endorsement that eluded him in 1964….and he also gained endorsement and sponsorship for his asthma medication, namely Primateme mist inhaler and tablets.                                                                                           

MLB – 1968 – World Series Highlights – St. Louis Cardinals Vs Detroit Tigers

The 1968 season became known as “The Year of the Pitcher”…..and Hoot was at the forefront of pitching dominance…..as his ERA was 1.12….which is a live-ball era record….plus he also set the major league record in 300 or more innings pitched…..as it was the lowest major league ERA since Dutch Leonard’s 0.96 mark 54 years earlier.  Gibson threw 13 shutouts….which were three fewer than fellow Nebraskan Grover Alexander’s 1916 major league record of 16.  He won all 12 starts in June and July, pitching a complete game every time, (eight of which were shutouts)….and allowed only six earned runs in 108 innings pitched (a 0.50 ERA). Gibson pitched 47 consecutive scoreless innings during this stretch….which at the time was the third-longest scoreless streak in major league history….plus, he also struck out 91 batters….while winning two-consecutive NL Player of the Month awards.  Gibson finished the season with 28 complete games out of 34 games started…..and of the games he didn’t complete, he was pinch-hit for….which meant that Gibson was not removed from the mound for another pitcher for the entire season. He also only conceded a total of 38 earned runs…..as Gibson won the National League MVP Award….a feat that was not replicated until Dodgers Clayton Kershaw won the award in 2014….and with Tigers Denny McLain winning the American League’s Most Valuable Player award, 1968 remains to date, the only year both MVP Awards went to pitchers, as McLain compiled a record of 31-6 record for Detroit Tigers.  For the 1968 season, opposing batters only had a batting average of .184….an on-base percentage of .233…..and a slugging percentage of .236…..as Gibson lost nine games against 22 wins, despite his record-setting low 1.12 ERA….which was actually a year that there was anemic batting throughout baseball…. which included his own Cardinal team….as the 1968 Cardinals had one .300 hitter….while the team-leading home run and RBI totals were just 16 and 79, respectively.  Gibson lost two 1–0 games, one of which was to San Francisco Giants pitcher Gaylord Perry’s no-hitter on September 17.  The Giants’ run in that game came on a first-inning home run by light-hitting Ron Hunt….which was the second of two he would hit the entire season….and one of only 11 that Gibson allowed in 304⅔ innings.  The year also was notable for Don Drysdale pitching a record six consecutive shutouts and 58⅔ consecutive scoreless innings.

 

MLB – 1968 – Special – Bob Gibson On Losing Nine Games in 1968: “I’m Still Mad About That”                                                                                               

In Game 1 of the 1968 World Series, Gibson struck out 17 Detroit Tigers to set a World Series record for strikeouts in one game….which still stands today (breaking Sandy Koufax’s record of 15 in Game 1 of the 1963 World Series)…..as he also joined Ed Walsh as the only pitchers to strike out at least one batter in each inning of a World Series game….as Walsh had done so in Game 3 of the 1906 World Series. After allowing a lead-off single to Mickey Stanley in the ninth inning….that’s when Gibson finished the game by striking out Tiger sluggers Al Kaline, Norm Cash and Willie Horton in succession. Recalling the performance, Tigers outfielder Jim Northrup remarked saying “We were fastball hitters, but he blew the ball right by us. And he had a nasty slider that was jumping all over the place.”….then  Gibson pitched Game 4 of the Series….while defeating the Tigers’ ace pitcher Denny McLain 10–1…..as the teams continued to battle each other….thus setting the stage for another winner-take-all Game 7 in St. Louis on October 10, 1968…..when in this game Gibson was matched against Tigers pitcher Mickey Lolich…..and the two proceeded to hold their opponents scoreless for the first six innings.  In the top of the seventh, Gibson retired the first two batters before allowing two consecutive singles…..when Detroit batter Jim Northrup then hit a two-run triple over the head of center fielder Curt Flood….which led to Detroit’s Series win.  The overall pitching statistics in MLB’s 1968 season….which was led by Gibson’s individual record-setting performance….are often cited as one of the reasons for Major League Baseball’s decision to alter pitching-related rules…..which is sometimes referred to as the “Gibson rules”….as MLB lowered the pitcher’s mound by five inches in 1969 from 15 inches to 10….and reduced the height of the strike zone from the batter’s armpits to the jersey letters.                                                                                                        

MLB – 1968 – Special – Bob Gibson Was So Good That MLB Had To Change The Rules

Aside from the rule changes set to take effect in 1969, cultural and monetary influences increasingly began impacting baseball…..as evidenced by nine players from the Cardinals 1968 roster who had not reported by the first week of spring training due to the status of their contracts.  On February 4, 1969, Gibson appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and said the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) had suggested players consider striking before the upcoming season began…..however, Gibson himself had no immediate contract worries, as the $125,000 salary Gibson requested for 1969 was agreed to by team owner Gussie Busch and the Cardinals….which set a new franchise record for the highest single-season salary.  Despite the significant rule changes, Gibson’s status as one of the league’s best pitchers was not immediately affected.  In 1969 he went 20–13 with a 2.18 ERA, 4 shutouts and 28 complete games.  On May 12, 1969, Gibson struck out three batters on nine pitches in the seventh inning of a 6–2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers….as Gibson became the 9th National League pitcher….and the 15th pitcher in MLB history to throw an “immaculate inning”…..then after pitching into the 10th inning of the July 4 game against the Cubs, Gibson was removed from a game without finishing an inning for the first time in more than 60 consecutive starts….which was a streak spanning two years.  After participating in the 1969 All-Star Game (his 7th), Gibson set another mark on August 16 when he became the 3rd pitcher in Major League history to reach the 200-strikeout plateau in seven different seasons.                                                                                                                                                        

MLB – 2002 – Special – Dan McLaughlin Interviews HOF Bob Gibson

Gibson experienced an up-and-down 1970 season, marked at the low point by a July slump where he resorted to experimenting with a knuckleball for the first time in his career.  Just as quickly, Gibson returned to form, starting a streak of seven wins on July 28th….while pitching all 14 innings of a 5–4 win against the San Diego Padres on August 12…..as he would go on to win his 4th and final NL Player of the Month award for August (6-0, 2.31 ERA, 55 SO).  Gibson won 23 games in 1970….and was once again named the NL Cy Young Award winner.                                                                                                                           

MLB – 2017 – Special Interview – Ex-Cards Catcher Tim McCarver Talks About Catching HOF Bob Gibson

Gibson was sometimes used by the Cardinals as a pinch-hitter, and in 1970 he hit .303 for the season in 109 at-bats, which was over 100 points higher than teammate Dal Maxvill.  For his career, he batted .206 (274 for 1,328) with 44 doubles, 5 triples, 24 home runs (plus two more in the World Series) and 144 RBIs, stealing 13 bases and walking 63 times.

 

MLB – 1967 – World Series Game 7 Highlight – Bob Gibson Hits HR To Give Cards A 3 – 0 Lead

Gibson achieved two highlights in August 1971. On the 4th, he defeated the Giants 7–2 at Busch Memorial Stadium for his 200th career victory.  Ten days later, he no-hit the eventual World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates 11–0 at Three Rivers Stadium…..as 3 of his 10 strikeouts in the game were to Willie Stargell…..which included the game’s final out. The no-hitter was the first in Pittsburgh since Nick Maddox at Exposition Park in 1907…..as none had been pitched in the 62-year (mid-1909-to-mid-1970) history of Three Rivers Stadium’s predecessor, Forbes Field.  Gibby was the 2nd pitcher in MLB history, after Walter Johnson, to strike out over 3,000 batters….and the 1st to do so in the National League…..as he accomplished this at home at Busch Stadium on July 17, 1974….with the victim being César Gerónimo of the Cincinnati Reds.                                                                                                                                 

MLB – 1971 – Special Highlights – Bob Gibson No Hits The Pittsburgh Pirates

Gibson began the 1972 season by going 0–5 but broke Jesse Haines’s club record for victories on June 21 and finished the year with 19 wins.  During the summer of 1974, Gibson felt hopeful he could put together a winning streak….but he continually encountered swelling in his knee….so, in January 1975, Gibson announced he would retire at the end of the 1975 season…..a season in which he went 3–10 with a 5.04 ERA.

 

MLB – 1959 To 1975 – Special – MLB Remembers HOF Legend Bob Gibson

In the eight seasons from 1963 to 1970, Gibson posted a win-loss record of 156–81….for a .658 winning percentage…..while he won 9 Gold Glove Awards…..plus was awarded the World Series MVP Award in 1964 and 1967…..and won Cy Young Awards in 1968 and 1970…..but more than anything that he accomplished during this incredible eight years time frame….Gibby won the respect of National League players everywhere as the most competitive pitcher that ever toed the mound.                                                                

MLB – 1959 To 1975 – Special Highlights – Bob Gibson: The Greatest Pitcher In St Louis Cardinals History

Dusty Baker was quoted when talking about Hoot….“Hank Aaron told me not to dig in against Bob Gibson….cuz he’ll knock you down.  He’d knock down his own grandmother if she dared to challenge him.  Don’t stare at him….don’t smile at him…..don’t talk to him…..simply put, DON’T MESS WITH HOOT….cuz he just doesn’t like it…..and if you happen to hit a home run….then don’t run too slow and don’t run too fast…..and if you happen to want to celebrate….then get in the tunnel first…..and if he hits you, don’t charge the mound, because he’s a Gold Glove boxer.  I’m like, ‘Damn, what about my 17-game hitting streak?’ That was the night it ended.”

 

MLB – 1959 To 1975 – Special Film – Bob Gibson’s Pitching Repertoire

Bob Gibson was a fierce competitor who rarely smiled and was known to throw brush-back pitches to establish dominance over the strike-zone and intimidate the batter….which was similar to his contemporary and fellow Hall of Famer Don Drysdale.  Even so, Gibson had good control and hit only 102 batters in his career….which was fewer than Drysdale’s 154.  Gibson was surly and brusque even with his teammates. When his catcher Tim McCarver went to the mound for a conference, Gibson brushed him off, saying “The only thing you know about pitching is that it’s hard to hit.”  Gibson casually disregarded his reputation for intimidation, though, saying that he made no concerted effort to seem intimidating. He joked in an interview with a St. Louis public radio station that the only reason he made faces while pitching was because he needed glasses and could not see the catcher’s signals.                                                  

MLB – 1959 To 1975 – Special Highlights – Bob Gibson: The Competitor

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