Righting a Wrong: Why Bob Gibson Deserves More Respect from Baseball Writers

Derek CoffeltSenior Analyst IJanuary 16, 2009

After watching the recently added MLB Network and their "Hot Stove" report, it came to my attention that Bob Gibson only received 84 percent of the Hall of Fame votes in 1981.

I've been a long-time writer for the St. Louis Cardinals here on Bleacher Report. I joined this great site over nine months ago, and I'm here to tell you that this fact is an outrageous injustice. How can a player who singlehandedly created a rule change not receive more respect from the baseball writers?

With the recent inductions of Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice into Cooperstown, the "snubs" of whom were excluded has been of a hot debate recently. Henderson, who received nearly 95 percent of the vote just several days ago, is no doubt Hall of Fame material.

The debate here isn't whether or not Gibson or Henderson is more deserving to be in the Hall. The question is, how can there be such a disparity?

Gibson's accolades are extensive, but none more infamous than his 1968 season. He was dubbed "Pitcher of the Year" by managing a minuscule 1.12 ERA, a live-ball era record. He threw 13 shutouts and only allowed two earned runs in 92 straight innings, all while earning the National League MVP.

He carried his dominance into the postseason where he struck out 17 Detroit Tigers batters in Game One of the 1968 World Series and compiled 35 strikeouts total. Both are records that still stand today.

The complete dominance of his 1968 season is widely considered the reason why Major League Baseball decided to lower the mound by five inches in 1969. The change didn't affect Gibson's performance, as he still managed a 20-win season with a 2.18 ERA.

He was the second pitcher in MLB history to strike out 3,000 batters and the first to accomplish the feat in the National League. Finishing his career with over 250 victories posting 56 shutouts, and pitching nearly 4,000 innings, his career ERA was only 2.91.

Gibson was notorious in how he constantly pitched inside to batters. Hank Aaron, who coincidentally received nearly 98 percent of his Hall of Fame vote, had this sage advice for Dusty Baker.

"'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."

This coming from one of the most iconic and legendary players in the game.

I know that not a single player has been unanimously selected into Hall of Fame; that is not what I'm advocating. The point here is that show that Gibson deserves more than only nine percent higher than the minimum.

Hall of Fame percentages can be argued night and day by the baseball writers and the fellow writers here on Bleacher Report. The numbers for Bob Gibson should speak for themselves, but the man changed the face of Major League pitching. He should have deserved better.