9. Bob Gibson’s 1,336 Career Walks
Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
Here is yet another pitching record that will stand thanks to the evolution of the game. Gibson not only pitched for 17 years with the St. Louis Cardinals. His managers also let him stay in there when he struggled. There was no bullpen specialization. There were no pitch counts. There were no innings limits.
Actually, if you look at the all-time leaderboard in walks, it reads like a who’s who of the Hall of Fame. Nolan Ryan (above) leads the world with 2,795 career walks, a mark that will probably never be surpassed. Steve Carlton is second on the list. Phil Niekro is third. Bob Feller is up there, too. Having a high number of walks meant you were good enough to be left in the game, even when you struggled.
So when Gibson had the rare game when he lost his command for a while, the righthander was still the best option the St. Louis Cardinals had. His walk totals were relatively high early in his career. He led the National League with 116 walks in 1961 and had the second-highest total in the NL in 1963 and 1964. But none of that really mattered. Gibson was the rare pitcher who was able to make up for his mistakes consistently.
These days, if a pitcher walks more than three or four batters, he’s out of the game no matter how good he is. For that reason, Gibson’s 1,336 career walks will stand the test of time.
Next: 10. Grant McGlynn's 352.1 Innings in a Season