Bob Gibson pitching against the Detroit Tigers in the 1968 World Series
Don’t ask me why — the photo seems a bit fuzzy and too bright, and I am not a photography expert — but this photo of Bob Gibson pitching in the 1968 World Series says something to me. About the beauty of baseball. How satisfying it is aesthetically. About Bob Gibson’s athleticism. His grace and power on the mound.
Okay. Here are a couple of footnotes that no one asked me for. I best remember Gibson, for some reason, pitching in the final game of the 1964 World Series against the Yankees. He was obviously tiring. Two light hitting Yankee players, Clete Boyer and Phil Linz, homered off Gibson in the top of the ninth. But manager Johnny Keane let him finish the game. (This would probably never be the case today.)
Bob Gibson passed away on Friday. His pitching records were phenomenal. Something else in the obituary struck me, something I didn’t know. He hit twenty-four regular season home runs, plus two in the World Series.
My good friend from New York City, William Carron, recently submitted the letter shown above to Baseball Digest, a copy of which letter he shared with me.
I wrote Mr. Caron as follows:
Dear Mr. Carron,
Your letter to the editor of Baseball Digest re earned run averages was very well thought out and written.
Before commenting, I would like to share something I recall. Bob Gibson and Reggie Jackson appeared a while ago on the Charlie Rose show. Some offhanded comment was made about pitchers either having broken, or possibly breaking, Bob Gibson’s record for the lowest ERA in a season. (It had not been broken.) Gibson, who impressed me in the interview, said something like, “Has it been broken? I didn’t know that.” I believe it was explained to Gibson that, no, his record had not been broken. I forget the specifics, but thinking that Bob Gibson was so humble or unconcerned about his standing in the record books impressed me. Very much unlike, say, Donald Trump.
Your point about innings pitched is valid. The statistics you cite for Gibson’s 1968 season — innings pitched, complete games, extra-inning games are remarkable. He pitched 304.2 innings out of a possible 312.2. Incredible! Where did you find these statistics?
Thanks much for sharing this very interesting letter with me. How did things change so that now almost no starter completes a game (as a rule) and many pitch only five or six innings?