NEW YORK, NEW YORK • A feared and fearless pitcher was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on this date in 1981. St. Louis Cardinal righty Bob Gibson became, at the time, just the 11th player voted into the Hall in his first year of eligibility. Gibson said, “That didn’t affect me until I saw the guys who made it in their first year.”
They were Al Kaline, Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Bob Feller, Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax, Ernie Banks, Willie Mays, Warren Spahn and Mickey Mantle (players like Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb aren’t among the 11 because they were already voted into the Hall in its inaugural year of 1939).
Bob Gibson won 20 or more games 5 times. His best won-loss year was 1970 when he went 23-7. But his most dominant year, as far as he and most observers are concerned, was 1968. He went 22-9 with a 1.13 ERA and 13 shutouts. Two of his 9 losses were by scores of 1-0.
His ERA was the 3rd lowest in the modern era (since 1900). He won the Cy Young award and was National League Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 1968.
The Omaha native pitched in 3 World Series. The Cardinals won two of them – 1964 against the Yankees and 1967 against the Boston Red Sox. He was MVP in both. His World Series record was 7-2.
Some little-known facts about Bob Gibson; He went to Creighton University on a basketball scholarship, averaging 22 point per game his junior year. Before he joined the Cardinals he played one year for the Harlem GlobeTrotters basketball team.
Chicago Tribune Wire Services, January 16, 1981, “Gibson in Hall, no one else comes close.”
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