1. Bob Gibson
It's not often that a sport changes a rule because of one player's dominance, but Bob Gibson's 1968 season was otherworldly enough for baseball to lower the pitcher's mound from 15 inches to 10 inches and shrink the strike zone. Gibson had a hilarious 1.12 ERA and 13 shutouts that year in 304.2 innings, winning the Cy Young and MVP awards.
Gibson was known as a menacing figure who frequently challenged hitters inside if they were too comfortable in the box. The nine-time All-Star, two-time Cy Young Award winner, nine-time Gold Glover and two-time World Series MVP brandished his ferocity on and off the field, refusing to talk to opposing players and being reticent with the press. His performance spoke for itself; Gibson is the franchise leader in WAR, wins, innings pitched, strikeouts, complete games and shutouts, and he is deservedly considered one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history.
The Cardinals have developed a winning franchise thanks in no small part to their ability to develop pitching. With Wainwright retiring after this season, fans will hope the team can unearth another star on the mound to keep the wheels turning.