Monday, May 28, 2018

Celebrate '68: Perry and Gibson Go Head-To-Head at Busch

     On May 28, 1968, Bob Gibson and the Birds fell 3-1 to Gaylord Perry and the San Francisco Giants in a rain abbreviated contest at Busch. Despite being handed his fourth loss in a row, Gibson was credited with his sixth complete game of the season. What did him in on that day in May were home runs off the bats of Dick Dietz and the great Willie Mays.

     Early on, the Cardinals looked to set the tone with a run in the second on an RBI by Roger Maris. Lou Brock set the table for Maris by turning a little blooper that fell into shallow left-center into a double. He dashed to third on a fly out by Curt Flood, then came into score on a fielder’s choice. A little small ball and great base running skills pushed him around the base paths. However, that would be all the offense could muster for Gibson who held the Giants in check, holding them hitless through five, before Dietz led off the sixth with a solo shot to knot it at 1-1. The tie was broken in the seventh after Ty Cline singled, then came into score when Mays got hold of one to put the Giants in front 3-1. It was the 572nd home run of Mays’ career.

      The contest had been delayed by rain from the start, as it took nearly an hour and a half just to get it going. There was also a delay in the seventh that lasted just 25 minutes before the skies opened up in the eighth that led to the umpires calling the game. Gibson’s ERA rose from 1.36 to 1.52 after the ballgame. The two pitchers' final lines for this game were as follows: Perry allowed just two hits, walked three, and struck out four, while giving up one earned run. Gibson allowed just four hits, walked one, struck out five, and was charged with three runs. It would have been a joy to see these two go toe-to-toe.

     The Cardinals were mired in a skid that had seen them drop 10 of their last 12. They were in fourth place, and some may have been questioning if the team could truly defend the title they had earned one season before. The tide would turn for the club in the days to come. Gibson would go on a tear. The team would catch fire around him as well. History would be made. The Redbirds were on the way to a pennant.

Check out the box score here:

Sources included: The Pittsburgh Press, The Alton Evening Telegraph, The Edwardsville Intelligencer, and

This Entry is Dedicated to the Memory of my Nephew
Joseph Allan Forrester
10/13/94 ~ 5/22/2018
I love you, kid.
     I would also like to thank all of the men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our country. As we celebrate our freedoms today be sure to remember who fought for it. God Bless.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Celebrate '68: Drysdale Outduels Gibson At Busch

  On May 22, 1968, Bob Gibson and the Redbirds hosted Don Drysdale and the Dodgers in St. Louis. Drysdale had come to the mound that day having thrown 20 consecutive innings of scoreless baseball.  When he left town, he had thrown 29.  Gibson was a more than formidable foe, surrendering only one run.  As it turned out, that one run was all Drysdale would need in what proved to be a 2-0 Cardinals loss at Busch.

          Drysdale was the story of the day because of extending his streak. However, Bob Gibson was… well, he was Bob Gibson. The Cardinals legend allowed just one hit over eight innings of work. In the third, Gibby issued a one out walk to second baseman Paul Popovich.  He then served up a double to first baseman Wes Parker bringing Popovich around to score.

          Meanwhile, Drysdale set down batter after batter. He would end up allowing just five hits in his complete game effort, while Gibson’s day would end in the eighth after being lifted for a pinch hitter. Gibby’s teammate Joe Hoerner took over in the ninth for the Cardinals and watched the Dodgers tack on an insurance run. However, that run was not charged to the reliever because of a throwing error by Orlando Cepeda.

  There were just 9,560 fans in attendance that night at Busch Stadium. While they may have walked away disappointed, rightfully so, the fact of the matter is they were witnessing history on the grandest of scales.  On one side of that scale was Bob Gibson. He was at the top of his game, as would be the case throughout that 1968 season, allowing just the one hit, striking out six, and dropping his ERA from 1.36 to 1.34. On the other side of that scale sat Don Drysdale: allowing five hits, striking out eight, and walking away with a nearly equally impressive ERA of 1.64.

         What was more impressive in the long run for Drysdale was his scoreless inning streak. It would not be snapped until 18 days later; it came to a halt after throwing 58 and 2/3 consecutive innings of scoreless baseball, breaking Walter Johnson’s record of 55 and 2/3 consecutive innings. 20 years after Drysdale set the mark, he would be in the booth to watch another Dodger by the name of Orel Hershiser break his record by going 59 innings. Drysdale is still second on the all-time list. Bob Gibson is third on the list. We will get into that later…

Check out the box score here:

Sources included:  The Bakersfield Californian, The St. Petersburg Times, The Southern Illinoisan, The Mount Vernon Register-News,,, and

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Celebrate '68: Bill White Beats His Old Friend In Philly

                On May 17, 1968, Bob Gibson turned in a complete game, going nine and two-thirds, only to fall 1-0 to the Phillies in Philadelphia in the bottom of the tenth. Gibson’s former roommate and ex-Cardinal, Bill White, pushed in the winning run with a single in the tenth.

Gibson and the Redbirds faced Woodie Fryman that day in mid May, and the 28-year-old righty allowed just five hits in the contest. Mike Shannon picked up the first hit off Fryman with a double in the second. The only other man that could get to Fryman was Julian Javier who singled in four out of his five trips to the plate.

A duel until the end, both pitchers had only allowed five hits as the game went into the bottom of the tenth. Fryman was the first man up in that inning and singled to open the frame. He moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt, watched Cookie Rojas fly out, and then saw Gibson intentionally walk Johnny Callison to get to his old friend Bill White.

Gibby had walked Callison in the eighth with two outs to get to White and got him to pop out. In a story that was published in The Bakersfield Californian, White said, “It was embarrassing. It was like getting knocked down twice, and then you have to get up and keep on fighting.” When Gibson gave Callison the free pass to set the table for White in the tenth, he would forget being embarrassed in an instant as he singled in his pitcher, who was rewarded for his valiant effort against one of the best in the game: Bob Gibson.

Gibson’s ERA dropped from 1.43 to 1.36 after the outing in which he added five strikeouts to his resume. His counterpart, Woodie Fryman struck out nine in the contest, helping his team snap a four-game losing streak. During that 1968 season Gibson received very little run support. In a recent interview with Dan McLaughlin from Fox Sports Midwest, Gibson mentioned the frustration he felt when it came to the lack of run support he received during that ’68 season. It was a little more than three runs per game, and on many days, he was lucky to see three runs on the Cardinals side of the scoreboard. He had to pitch his ass off just to have a chance to win and that is what he did. Bob Gibson turned in stellar performance one after the other, as he mapped a road to a number that will not be forgotten… 1.12.

Sources included: The Republican Courier, The Bakersfield Californian, The Daily Capital News, The Alton Evening Telegraph,, and Dan McLaughlin’s Game 3 Preview Against the Padres on May 12, 2018. You can listen to that here:

Since I mentioned Danny Mac during this blog, I would like to take a moment to thank him for his ongoing support. I also sincerely appreciate his interactions with the fans, whether it be a lifelong fan here in St. Louis, or a young one in another city that he made sure got a baseball. I cannot overstate how much this fan of the game appreciates Dan McLaughlin. From what I understand, he will be starting full podcasts here soon, and I cannot wait to listen.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Celebrate '68: Gibson Drops One To Houston

                On May 12, 1968, the Houston Astros snapped Bob Gibson’s three-game winning streak and four complete game streak with a 3-2 victory over the Cardinals at Busch. Both clubs were haunted by unearned runs, but it was the Cardinals who would be haunted in the end after Denis Menke drove in what proved to be the game-winning run with a bases-loaded single in the seventh.

                Larry Dierker stood on the bump for the ‘Stros.  He surrendered an early 1-0 lead in the first when an error by shortstop Hector Torres put Roger Maris in the position to knock Curt Flood in with a double. That lead disappeared in the second when an error by Dal Maxvill put Houston’s catcher Dave Adlesh in the same position Maris found himself in during the first. Just like that it was 1-1.  The tide turned in the fourth when Mike Shannon lined a home run over the wall in right to put the Birds up 2-1.

                The two hurlers battled until the seventh when Gibson ran into trouble from the get go. He had the top of the order in front of him, which began with centerfielder Ron Davis who singled to start the inning. He then hit rightfielder Norm Miller with a pitch, before leftfielder Jim Wynn bunted his way on to load the bases. Gibson retired the next two men but could not get Menke, who knocked in Davis and Miller. Up to that point, Gibson had struck out nine men. He finished off the seventh inning with his 10th strikeout of the day.

                Gibson went one more inning. He was lifted for a pinch hitter when the Cardinals came to bat in the eighth. Hal Gilson took over pitching duties, but the Birds could not get to Dierker. The Astros hurler sailed into the ninth having scattered six hits. He allowed his seventh hit to Roger Maris to begin the ninth, then sat down the next three men in a row to end it.

                Gibson’s ERA sat at 1.43 at the end of this day. He had been charged with the two runs over eight innings. His performance was certainly good enough for the Cardinals to win. However, as we all know, there are days when the offense fails to come through for a pitcher who turns in a splendid performance.  There are also days when a pitcher turns in a splendid performance only to watch his counterpart do the same for the opposing team.

                To think about the fact that Gibson finished that season with an ERA of 1.12, and still lost nine games is astounding. It was the year of the pitcher though, and the Cardinals had to face their fair share of good and even great pitchers. With that said, they had one of the greatest of them all. He wore the 45… His name was Bob Gibson.

Sources included: The Southeast Missourian, The Victoria Advocate, The St. Joseph Gazette, The Alton Evening Telegraph, and

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Celebrate '68: Gibson and Seaver Duel At Busch

On May 6, 1968, a duel to remember took place in St. Louis as Bob Gibson and Tom Seaver went head-to-head in front of 12,741 fans. Gibson would get the best of “Tom Terrific” on that day in early May, winning 2-1 in 11 innings. Tom was terrific nonetheless. As was Gibson.

            The Cardinals took an early 1-0 lead in the second after Tim McCarver singled, reached second on an error by first baseman Ed Kranepool, then came around to score on a single by Julian Javier. From there, Seaver was lights out. In fact, he no-hit the Cardinals until the tenth when he surrendered a single to Mike Shannon in.

            After McCarver scored in the second, The Mets came back with a run in the fourth to tie it up, by picking up three singles in a row by Bud Harrelson, Ken Boswell, and Art Shamsky who earned the RBI. The single by Shamsky was followed by a flyball to center, that looked like it was going to bring in the rookie Boswell to score on the sac fly. However, Boswell slid wide and missed the dish. McCarver did not realize he missed the plate, but Orlando Cepeda shouted at him to tag the runner. In a haste, McCarver applied the tag to keep the game knotted at one.

            Those three hits that the Mets bunched together to start off the fourth would be the only hits that Gibson gave up that day. He struck out 11 through 11, then was rewarded for his efforts in the bottom of that inning when Lou Brock tripled off Seaver to begin the inning. The Mets’ skipper Gil Hodges then chose to intentionally walk Curt Flood and Roger Maris to load the bases for Orlando Cepeda. Hodges had to be hoping for a force at the plate, however, Cepeda made him pay by singling to right for the game winning RBI. Two hours and ten minutes after the game begun the Cardinals were victorious. It was a game for the ages indeed.

Some side notes: Gibson threw 109 pitches, while his counterpart Tom Seaver threw 120. The two pitchers would combine for 562 wins in their careers. It had to be something special to see those two go at it. Just think, so far, we have looked at a game where Gibson faced Fergie Jenkins, and now we have looked at one that had him going against Tom Seaver. The matchups were fierce. The competition was great. What a year it was. #Celebrate68.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Celebrate '68: Gibson Tosses a Gem, While Javier Plays The Hero

                On May 1, 1968, Bob Gibson pitched 12 innings and walked away with a victory as the Cardinals beat the Astros in Houston by the score of 3-1. Julian Javier was the offensive star in this one, going 4 for 5, knocking in two, and scoring the final Redbird run on an error.

                Javier got things started in the fourth, knocking in Johnny Edwards with a two out double. Javier was thrown out trying to stretch the double into a triple, but he put a run on the board nonetheless. That run would prove to be needed as the Astros would tie it after a pair of errors led to them tying the ballgame.  The great Bob Gibson put those errors behind him and went back to work, and so did the Astros’ pitchers. 

Houston’s starter Dave Giusti did an admirable job after allowing the fourth inning run, going eight innings, striking out five total, and holding the Cardinals at bay before being lifted for a pinch hitter.  Jim Ray took over pitching duties thereafter and did his job by pitching two scoreless frames before being lifted from the game for a pinch hitter.  Meanwhile, Bob Gibson was not budging on the mound. Neither the starters nor the pinch hitters could get to him, and after Wade Blasingame took over for the Astros, it was only a matter of time before Javier would come through again.

That time came after Blasingame pitched a scoreless 11th. He followed that frame by surrendering a single to Edwards, who was then forced out when Mike Shannon hit one right back to the pitcher. Then came the offensive hero of the day… Julian Javier. The bespectacled second baseman tripled into left center, scoring on a wild throw by Houston shortstop Deni Menke.

Gibson went into the bottom of the 12th with a 3-1 lead ready to celebrate victory. Houston’s second baseman Julio Gotay, who had picked up the ribbie in the fourth, had other ideas as he opened the inning with a double and stood on second base as the future Hall of Famer retired the next three men in a row. Two hours and fifty-five minutes after the game began, Gibson and the Birds were victorious. The hurler’s ERA dropped down to 1.43 after the 12-inning effort that saw him strike out seven. There’s a very good chance that the first person Gibby shook hands with was Javier as they each had a huge role in the Cardinals’ first win that May and their 14th win of the season.