Gibson is the franchise leader in bWAR for a Pitcher (81.9), Wins (251), Strikeouts (3,117), and Innings Pitched (3,884.1) and holds many single-season records too. This is all before we talk about his post-season heroics!
Signing with the team as an Amateur Free Agent before the 1957 season, Gibson would debut in 1959 and by ’61 he was a fixture in the starting rotation. While he had already proven himself in the Majors for a few years, the 1964 World Series was arguably his coming out party. Gibson would start three games, winning two of them and securing a championship for St. Louis while setting a World Series record of 31 Strikeouts.
From there he would go to six straight All-Star Games (1965-70) and in 1967 he would help St. Louis win their second World Series of the decade. Gibson was even better than in 1964 where he went 3 and 0 in 27 Innings with a 1.00 ERA and a 0.704 WHIP and like ’64 he would be named the World Series MVP. He would follow that up with one of the greatest regular seasons in Baseball where the 1968 campaign would see him win 22 Games with a league leading 1.12 ERA, 1.77 FIP, and a 0.853 WHIP. He was named the National League Cy Young and Most Valuable Player that year.
This was “The Year of the Pitcher” and in the rival American League Denny McLain of the Detroit Tigers would also win the MVP and Cy Young. McLain and Gibson met in the 1968 World Series, though this time the Cardinals would lose though the intimidating Gibson was stellar again with three starts, 27 Innings, and a 1.67 ERA and 0.815 WHIP. Gibson and other Pitchers were so good that MLB lowered the pitcher’s mound by five inches and reduced the height of the strike zone.
Despite the rule changes, Gibson was still an elite Pitcher and he would win his second Cy Young in 1970.
It is certainly worth mentioning that Gibson was a pretty good hitter (24 Home Runs) and defensively he was a nine-time Gold Glove winner.Bob Gibson would be chosen for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981, which was his first year of eligibility. As for the Cardinals, they retired his number 45 after Gibson retired, and he was inducted into the first class of St. Louis' Hall of Fame in 2014.
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