When I was growing up, my mom was a Detroit Tigers fan because it was the city where she was born and grew up. When I was ten years old they were in the World Series but my mom taught me respect for the dominate opposing pitcher, Bob Gibson of the St. Louis Cardinals.
His intimidating stare into the batter, his unbeatable fast ball and his ‘up and in’ pitch to drive you off the plate made him nearly unbeatable. In 1968 he won 22 games and struck out 268 batters, had a 1.12 ERA and 13 shutouts. The Tigers won the World Series that year, but Bob Gibson was my enduring memory. Major League Baseball lowered the pitching mound six inches the next season to give batters a break. Bob Gibson won 20 games and struck out 269 batter that year in response. He was that good.
He passed away on Friday at age 84. He was the defining pitcher in my early baseball days and none has topped him in my lifetime. He is one reason I love a pitcher’s duel more than a home run derby. Rest in peace, Bob Gibson and thanks for the excellent baseball memories.