The late St. Louis Cardinals legend Bob Gibson became a Hall of Famer this week, 42 years ago. The intimidating righty is widely known as one of baseball's greatest pitchers. Let's look at some things that made Bob Gibson genuinely worthy of his Hall of Fame induction.
Pack Robert Gibson, from Omaha, Nebraska, attended his hometown college, Creighton University. He was a dual sport athlete in baseball and basketball but excelled more in basketball. He stands in the record books for many various statistics. After Creighton, he took his basketball career to the next level by playing for the Harlem Globetrotters. After his stint with the Globetrotters, he began his career with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Making his debut for the Redbirds in 1959, he gathered success after a tough first two years and never looked back. He came into the big club sporting the number 58, then switched to 31, then finally made his final switch to 45 in late 1960 and his career took off from there. Throughout his career, he gathered two Cy Young awards, an MVP in 1968, and was a 9x gold glover.
*Fun Fact about his 1968 season was that he averaged 8.96 innings pitched per game.
After his career was all said and done in 1975, he was one of the most accomplished pitchers of all time. Gibson changed the game in so many ways. He added a level of intimidation to the pitching mound that no other pitcher had done before and even following his incredible 1968 season (noted as "The Year Of The Pitcher"), the MLB made changes to the pitching mound and the strike zone, effective immediately. Gibson and Denny McLain from the Detroit Tigers both won the MVP award for their respective league and were the two main reasons the MLB made the change.
When Gibson retired in 1975, everybody knew that he was a Hall of Fame shoo-in. He was first eligible to be in the Hall of Fame in 1981, where of course, he was a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He was the only member of the 1981 Hall of Fame class, with many notable names being just short of getting in. After Gibson, the next closest to getting in was Don Drysdale, Gil Hodges, Harmon Killebrew, Hoyt Wilhelm, and Juan Marichal. All of the players ended up getting into the Hall of Fame eventually.
Gibson stayed around the game for a while and was even named the first "attitude coach" in MLB history in 1981 when he took on the aforementioned role with Joe Torre's New York Mets. When Torre moved to manage the Braves in 1982, Gibson went with him to become the pitching coach. After a couple of years with the Braves, Gibson left the game of baseball until 1995 when Gibson came back to St. Louis to become the pitching coach for the Torre-led Cardinals.
Gibson is a legendary player and most certainly the best Cardinals pitcher of all-time. Some people may even make the argument that he was the best pitcher that ever lived. Nobody changed the game as much as Bob Gibson did. Rest in peace, Pack Robert Gibson.