There aren't enough words to properly summarize the life of Bob Gibson. You can just boil him down to the most dominant pitcher of all time, but that wouldn't do him justice. You could read over his baseball reference page and get an idea of how dominant he was, but not quite the whole picture. Hearing about how they had to change the literal rules of the game to try and quell how dominant he was is like hearing about the NCAA banning dunking while Kareem Adbul-Jabbar was at UCLA - it's preposterous but unless you were alive to see it it sounds like a Paul Bunyan level tall tale. Bob Gibson was one of one.
Gibson played college basketball at Creighton. He was garnered interested from Indiana but they couldn't have him on the team because their "negro quota had been met." That's a thing that happened to a guy who was alive as recently as yesterday. He went to Creighton, averaged 22 a game, got drafted by the Cardinals and decided, "Let me see what the Harlem Globetrotters are hitting for real quick." Despite the Cardinals giving him a $3,000 signing bonus - which equates to about, idk, $100 million in today's dollars - he played for the Globetrotters just because he could. That is, and I cannot stress this enough, extremely cool. He did that for a year before going to St. Louis where he decided it would be best to go out and be one of, if not the single greatest, pitchers of all time.
That's not hyperbole just because the man passed away today, either. Gibson has as good of a case as anyone. He was obscenely dominant. His 1.12 ERA in 1968 hasn't been sniffed since he posted it. He had 255 complete games, which is impressive on its own, but appears cartoonish juxtaposed to his 251 wins. That means absolute best case scenario is he had four losses where he went the distance. Preposterous. He won nine gold gloves. He had SEVENTEEN (17) strikeouts in Game 1 of the 1968 World Series.
He hit a home run in a World Series Game 7!
Bob Gibson started nine World Series games in his career. He went 7-2 with EIGHT complete games while posting a 1.89 ERA and 10.2 K/9. Like in the WORLD SERIES Gibson was maybe going to give up two runs while punching out double digits and there wasn't a need to have any other pitchers on the active roster that day. I also understand complete games were more common back then, but I don't care what era we're talking about. The man pitched from 1959 to 1975. He won an MVP and somehow only claimed two CY Youngs. From 1968-70 he went 65-29 with a 2.13 ERA and struck out 811 batters out of the 3,644 he faced. Which roughly translate to one K every four batters over three years. Despite winning 250+ games and striking out well over 3,000 batters he somehow only garnered 84% of the vote to the Hall of Fame. Those 16% of people should've been arrested on sight.
Oh yeah, if you even THOUGHT about crowding his plate? Enjoy 98 in the ribs.
From Dusty Baker,
"(Hank Aaron told me) 'Don't dig in against Bob Gibson, 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. He doesn't like it. If you happen to hit a home run, don't run too slow, don't run too fast. If you happen to want to celebrate, 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."
One of one.
Rest in peace, Hoot.