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Cardinals Hall of Famer Bob Gibson Dies at 84

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The legendary hurler’s passing was felt throughout the game.

Bob Gibson Baseball Hall of Fame 1981 Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images/Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images

No more than a half-hour removed from the final out of the Cardinals’ 2020 season on Friday night, news broke that legendary right-hander Bob Gibson had passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Gibson was 84 years old.

Gibson pitched 17 seasons for the Cardinals and finished his dazzling career with a 251-174 record, 2.91 ERA, and 3,117 strikeouts. Gibson led the Cardinals to World Series championships in 1964 and 1967 and was the MVP in both of those series.

Gibson was the National League Cy Young Award winner in 1968 and 1970, and he was also the league MVP in ‘68 — the year he started 34 games (and finished 28 of them — 13 as shutouts) and posted a 1.12 ERA with 268 punchouts. Friday was the 52nd anniversary of Gibson’s 17-strikeout gem against the Tigers in Game 1 of the 1968 World Series. Gibson was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981.

Following the Cardinals’ 4-0 loss to the Padres on Friday night in the third and final game of the Wild Card series, tributes began to flood social media from Gibson’s countless fans, friends, and mentees.

This has been an incredibly tough month for the Cardinals organization. Back on September 6th, Gibson’s longtime teammate Lou Brock passed away after a battle with cancer at the age of 81. In the middle of the month, 46-year-old Charles Peterson, a scout for the club since 2012, died after a month-long fight with COVID-19. Peterson was the signing scout for the Cardinals’ top pick of 2020, outfielder Jordan Walker, as well as catcher Andrew Knizner.

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What’s your favorite memory of Gibson? My favorite memory of Gibson stemmed from a story my late grandfather loved to share.

My grandpa was in St. Louis on a humid July day in 1967, for a game between the Pirates and Cardinals. “With enough cold beer, it is never too hot for baseball,” he would say. My grandpa recalled a line drive shot up the middle by Roberto Clemente. The crack off Clemente’s bat was quickly followed by another crack; the second crack was Gibson’s leg breaking. “That fella was tougher than tough, Josey,” he said with a smirk. “They just don’t make many like him.”

Gibson pitched to three more batters before exiting the game. He returned to the club in just under two months and led the team to the ‘67 crown.