Bob Gibson was a trailblazer and one of the best pitchers to ever live
Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson passed away last Friday, after complications from pancreatic cancer. The 84-year-old Gibson had been battling cancer for over a year.
Gibson was always a warrior, in a quote about Gibson from Hall of Fame outfielder Stan Musial, “Gibby is one of baseball’s greatest competitors.”
Even before his days of playing in the MLB Gibson was a pioneer. He became the first African American to play basketball and baseball at Creighton University. Gibson also had a stint playing for the Harlem Globetrotters.
Gibson made his major league debut on April 15, 1959, pitching just two innings in relief. Ironically, the legendary pitcher gave up a homer to his first batter. In his rookie season, Gibson compiled a record of 3-5 with an ERA of 3.33 and 48 strikeouts.
Gibson made his first All-Star game appearance in 1962. Gibson had a phenomenal season bolstering a 2.85 ERA with a league-leading five shutout performances in which he led the league to go along with 208 strikeouts.
In 1968, Gibson had one of the most tremendous pitching seasons in baseball history. Gibson commanded the strike zone, finishing the season with a 1.12 ERA, good enough for fourth-best in MLB history. Gibson also led the major leagues in shutouts with 13 and led the National League in strikeouts with 268. The pitcher was awarded the Cy Young award, league MVP as well the Gold Glove award.
In 1970, Gibson had yet another historic season leading the National League in wins with 23. Gibson finished the season with a 3.12 ERA and a personal best 274 strikeouts. Gibson would go on to win the National League Cy Young award for the second time in his career.
Over the course of his career, Gibson was no stranger to awards, winning the 1964 NL Babe Ruth Award which is given to players with the best performance in the postseason. Gibson was also awarded the 1964 and 1968 Willie Mays World Series MVP Awards. He was also won nine consecutive Gold Glove awards from 1965-73.
After his playing career was over, Gibson took up several coaching jobs years later. In 1981 Joe Torre who was the manager of the Mets hired Gibson as an “attitude coach.”
Later Gibson was hired by Torre again to be the pitching coach of the 1982 Atlanta Braves. After a couple of seasons in Atlanta, Gibson then hosted the Cardinals pre and post-game show from 1985 to 1989. Gibson returned to coach the Cardinals in 1995 but left after the season ended.