St. Louis Cardinals legend Bob Gibson died at 84 years old on Friday, October 2 in Omaha, Nebraska after battling pancreatic cancer. During his 17 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, Gibson set records and became one of baseball’s greatest pitchers. Gibson’s death came one month after that of his teammate, Lou Brock, a Hall of Fame outfielder.
Gibson joined the Cardinals in 1959, and throughout the 60s and early 70s, he proved to be at his best during the World Series. Gibson holds both records for most strikeouts in a World Series game, and the most strikeouts in a single World Series. Gibson was feared for his high, inside fastball that caught batters almost every time.
“Bob Gibson was arguably one of the best athletes and among the fiercest competitors to ever play the game of baseball,” Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said.
Gibson set Cardinals records by pitching a staggering 255 complete games, throwing 56 shutouts and winning 251 games. Gibson’s career was characterized by winning, which opened up many achievements for him.
“If you ever saw Gibson work you’d never forget his style: his cap pulled down low over his eyes, the ball gripped—almost mashed— behind his right hip, the eyes smoldering at each batter almost accusingly,” former Cardinal catcher Tim McCarver said in his 1987 memoir.
Gibson was voted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 1981, which was his first year of eligibility. Gibson won three championship titles with the Cardinals over the course of his career. He won two Cy Young Awards—one in 1968 and one in 1970, while also being named the National League’s Most Valuable Player. Gibson was also an eight time All-Star, and won a Gold Glove award.
“To lose a legend like that, it’s hard,” the Cardinals’ All-Star catcher Yadier Molina told reporters after St. Louis was eliminated from the postseason by the San Diego Padres on Friday night, “yeah, we lose a game; yeah, we lose a series; but without him, we lose one great man.”
Gibson’s legacy will always be remembered through both Cardinals players and fans as one of baseball’s greatest athletes.