Hoot! The Story Of Bob Gibson

Bleacher Report Senior Writer IOctober 24, 2008

Pack Robert Gibson was born November 9, 1935 in Omaha, Nebraska. He was born Pack Gibson. Unfortunately, his dad died three months after he was born. When he turned 18, he changed his name to Robert. Despite a childhood filled with sickness, Gibson was always active in sports. He played baseball and basketball. He went to Tech High School in Oklahoma following a family move. He was a standout baseball player. Because of a great high school career, he received a scholarship to Creighton University. At Creighton, he played baseball and basketball.

He pitched from 1959 to 1975 with the Cardinals and was admitted into the Hall of Fame in 1981 on his first try. He was known to brush batters back and show them who was boss, much like Don Drysdale. He is definitely the best Cardinals pitcher of all time. The one closest to him is Dizzy Dean. He had a dominant fastball, a sharp slider and a looping curve ball.

In 1957, Gibson received a $3000 bonus to play for St. Louis. He delayed his start with St. Louis to play for the Harem Globetrotters for a year. His nickname was "Hoot" after Hoot Gibson, a former silent movie star. Gibson had a very low-impact rookie year in 1959, when he had three wins and a 3.33 ERA.

Gibson didn't even start to make a name for himself until 1961. In 1960, he was just 3-6 with a 5.61 ERA. In 1961, he was just 13-12, but had an outstanding 3.24 ERA. From 1960 to 1970, Gibson was 210-120 with a beyond belief 2.70 earned run average. In 1967, Gibson made a remarkable return from a broken leg to become the best pitcher in the series. He broke his leg when Roberto Clemente hit a laser line drive off his right leg. In the series, he was 3-0. All three wins were complete game wins. The last guy to do that was pretty good: Christy Matthewson in 1905.

The 1968 season was the year of the pitcher. He had a 1.12 ERA, a modern record. He had thirteen shutouts, second to Grover Cleveland Alexander, who had 16 in 1916. He also had 47 consecutive scoreless, which set a record only to be broken by Don Drysdale. Gibson won MVP, Cy Young and was 20-9. In the 1968 World Series, he struck out 17 Tigers.

Gibson's season was so good, baseball officials lowered the mound by five inches. The change didn't effect him. He was 20-13 with a 2.18 earned run average. He started 35 games. 28 of those games didn't require a bullpen, if you know what I'm saying.In 1969, he became the 9th National League pitcher to throw nine pitches in an inning and strike out three batters.

Gibson achieved two more high lights on 1971. That year, he won his 200th game against the San Francisco Giants. Ten days later, he pitched a complete game, no hitting the Pittsburgh Pirates. Oh yeah, he was 36 when he did this. In that game, he struck out Willie Stargell three times. Damn. He was the second pitcher to get 3,000 strikeouts and first National Leaguer. Gibson was probably the best hitting pitcher ever. He hit .303 in 1970, 100 points higher then teammate and started Dal Maxilli Of course, he didn't have a good career average (.206), but had 144 RBI. He was often used as a pinch runner because of his exceptional speed.

His number 45 was retired by the Cards and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1981. In 1999, Hoot ranked 30th on the Top 100 Baseball Players of All Time in a piece by Sporting News. He was also selected to the All Decade Team.

Gibson also has a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame. A bronze statue of Gibson by Harry Weber is located in front of Busch Stadium, commemorating Gibson along with other Cardinal greats, such as Stan "The Man" Musial.

In 2004, Gibson was voted as the Most Intimidating Pitcher of All Time, edging Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson. The street on the north side of Rosenblatt Stadium, home of the College World Series, is now called Bob Gibson Boulevard.

In his career, Gibson was elected to eight All Star Games, won Two World Series, Nine Gold Gloves, won the 1968 NL MVP, won the Cy Young in 1968 and 1970, holds record for lowest ERA in the live-ball era, holds record for strikeouts in a World Series and strikeouts in a World Series game.

In his career, he is 251-174 with a solid 2.99 ERA.