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Remembering The Great Bob Gibson

October 5, 2020

I once approached the beyond great pitcher, Bob Gibson, who joined the veritable conga line of death/2020, at age 84 on October 2nd,and he responded to my comment by lightly screaming “aaaaah.”


That is how I feel now, as great favorites from better days, just keep dying and that list certainly includes Mr. Gibson, who subsequently, in a better mood, posed for a nice picture with me.

 
I treasure that picture and moment as I do watching “Gibby’s” dominant 17 strikeout performance on a Yom Kippur, October 2nd, which turned out to precede his death by 52 years.


Five years earlier on another October 2nd, Sandy Koufax, who famously did not pitch a World Series opener two years after that, because it was Yom Kippur, struck out 15 in a World Series opener and it was his record that Gibson broke that day in 1968.


Gibson won game 7 of the World Series twice and had 7 straight World Series wins at one point, as an integral, if not top part of Cardinals’ title teams in 1964 and 1967. (While the 2020 Cards can be proud, at least somewhat, as this season is a 60 game sham, of making the 16 team ‘offs-they were eliminated from those ‘offs on the day Bob Gibson died. Another Cards’ great, Lou Brock died just weeks earlier.)


Mr. Gibson played the game with an intensity and ferocity, not matched by many and was a truly incredible great.


After being outdueled by Al Jackson (1-0) (also on an October 2nd) in the last weekend/last games Friday night tilt in 1964 and after a Cards’ (15-5) loss to the Mets that Saturday (the Mets lost (15-5) to defending champion and out of the ‘offs “Wash” last Sunday, on a day the Cards won to be one of the 16, it was to be one of 2 in so much better “baseball/1964,”), Gibson, called on by manager Johnny Keane, pitched multiple innings of relief, as St. Louis, aided by a Phils win at Cincy, avoided a 3 way tie for the pennant, winning their first “such” in 18 years.


After losing game 2 to Mel Stottlemyre and the Yankees, Gibson won #’s 5 and 7 as the Cards won their first title, also in 18 years.


In 1967, he was even better in the World Series, winning 3 games, including #7 vs Jim Lonborg and the “Impossible Dream” 100 to 1, A.L. pennant winning Boston Red Sox.


Memories “flood” the gallant Curt’s misplay on Northrup’s triple, a 1.12 ERA for Bob, Lou Brock not sliding, a homer yielded to Mike Jorgensen that I recalled to him in the Cards dugout during the ’85 W.S. (another Cards “blown,” yes McCarver “blown” W.S. up (3-1), but not before mistaking him for right wing Van Slyke.

As with Mr. Gibson, I have reasons to bark, the difference is he did most of it with great pitching, even hitting as he stroked 2 W.S. home runs, providing cherished memories.

In the games up there, please do not throw at the angels, as they are not the California baseball team.

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