Monday, July 30, 2018

Celebrate '68: The Winning Streak Runs To Twelve In A Row

            On July 30, 1968, Bob Gibson won his 12th straight game and recorded his 18th complete game of the season with a 7-1 win over the Mets, at Shea Stadium in New York. The victory was highlighted by a five run fifth inning by the Cardinals. The one run allowed was just the third run allowed by Gibson in 101 innings.

Coming into the day Gibson’s ERA sat at 0.96 and with the one run allowed it remained at that impressive mark. It seems that everything that Gibson did that season was impressive. I am sure the men on the Cardinals roster were happy it was their opponents that had to face him. Bob Gibson was the kind of player that one would lose a little sleep at night knowing that he would be toeing the rubber against them the next day.

             Dick Selma got the call to pitch against Gibson in The Big Apple. He ran into trouble in the third when Maxvill tripled to lead off the inning. Curt Flood knocked in the shortstop on a groundout just a few minutes later to give the Cardinals a 1-0 early lead. Gibson rolled through the bottom of the third before the Cardinals offense exploded with the five run fifth.

            The big inning began with the first five players reaching base before an out was recorded. Orlando Cepeda singled, Tim McCarver walked, Mike Shannon reached on an error, Javier singled in two runs, Maxvill singled in another, before Selma finally got an out when Bob Gibson flied out. That said, even Gibson’s out hurt the New York starter as it came in the form of a sac fly, which was followed by a groundout by Lou Brock that brought in Maxvill to score what proved to be the sixth run of the ballgame for the rockin’ Redbirds. Two of the five runs were not charged to Selma; however, the big inning spelled the end for the pitcher on that day.

            The Mets did put a run on the board in the fourth after Ed Charles singled with two outs, then scored when Ed Kranepool followed him with a double. The run ended a streak of 23 scoreless innings thrown by Gibson, He would put that run behind him quickly and go right back to work retiring Larry Stahl to end the frame.

            Bill Connors took over pitching duties for the Mets. He had clean innings in the fifth and sixth but ran into two-out trouble in the seventh. He allowed a double to Flood, surrendered a walk to Roger Maris, then Orlando Cepeda knocked in Flood with a single. The score was 7-1 and Gibson simply did his job the rest of the way.

            The Cardinals hurler ran into a little trouble, allowing two runners in the eighth, but got out of that, then set Art Shamsky, Jerry Grote, and Jerry Buchek down in order in the ninth to end it. Once again, the day belonged to Gibson. He trotted off the mound having moved his record to 15-5. Gibson’s final line was nine innings pitched, five hits allowed, eight strikeouts, and one earned run surrendered. He was the most dominant man in all of baseball.

Sources include:, The Schenectady Gazette, The St. Joseph Gazette, and The Toledo Blade    

I dedicate this entry to the memory of my dog and best friend Hoss. He watched tons of ballgames with me and brought great joy to my life. 
I will always carry him in my heart. 

Hoss Forrester

Always my Bubba 

Rest in Peace my friend. 

2010 ~ 2018

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Celebrate '68: Eleven Wins In A Row For Gibby

            On July 25, 1968, Bob Gibson won his 11th straight game with a 5-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in St. Louis. Gibson’s eighth shutout in his last ten games dropped his ERA to 0.96. It was his 17th complete game of the season.  The 11 straight wins tied a club record by a pitcher, which was set in 1944 by Ted Wilks. Gibson's eight shutout of the season also tied another club record. It was his 33rd shutout of his Cardinals career, which matched Bill Doak’s mark. Gibson now owns the franchise record with 56 career shutouts.

            Gibson’s batterymate Johnny Edwards put the Birds on the board with a two-out single off of Philadelphia’s starter Chris Short, which scored Curt Flood and Mike Shannon in the fourth. More two-out damage came in the fifth when Orlando Cepeda doubled in a run. Moments later, Shannon brought Cepeda into score with a single to make it 4-0.

            Gibson, who had already doubled in the third, joined in on the two-out damage club by doubling again in the eighth, which brought Dal Maxvill around to score the fifth run of the ballgame. However, the first run was the only run needed by Bob Gibson needed that day.  He was lights out throughout. Going into the eighth, Gibson had allowed just four hits. Philadelphia’s second baseman Cookie Rojas began that inning with a single. It was the last hit by a Phillie that day.

            Gibson retired the next five men he faced to secure the victory. His final line was nine innings pitched, five hits allowed, one walk, and six strikeouts on the day. His record extended to 14-5, and once again his ERA dropped below one. It was late July and Gibson had all of baseball marveling at his dominance. They would continue to marvel well into October. 

Sources included: The Southeast Missourian, The St. Joseph Gazette, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Schenectady Gazette, and

I also referred to the link below. You can check out all franchise leaders here:

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Celebrate '68: Ten Wins In A Row For Gibson!

            On July 21, 1968, Bob Gibson locked down his 10th straight win by leading the way to a 2-0 victory over the Mets during the first game of a doubleheader at Busch. The shutout was Gibson’s seventh of the season and his 16th complete game of the campaign.

            Rookie pitcher Jim McAndrew made his major league debut against Gibson that day and he earned the first loss of his career as well. As you can tell by the 2-0 final score, he did not pitch all that badly. He held the Cardinals off the board until the sixth inning when Bobby Tolan who was giving Orlando Cepeda a break at first hit an inside the park home run. McAndrew worked his way through the inning thereafter, but Gibson had the run he needed as the Mets could not solve him on that day.

            Tolan added a little insurance with a ribbie in the eighth, hitting a double off reliever Bill Connors, which scored Lou Brock before Gibson went back to work in the ninth. Gibson came into that inning having struck out 13 men. He would not grab another K in the inning, and nearly ran into trouble when Ed Charles and Art Shamsky picked up one out back-to-back singles. However, Gibson retired Jerry Grote and Ed Kranepool with a popfly and a groundout to secure the win.

            McAndrew pitched during seven different seasons in the majors, primarily for the Mets, and during that time he posted a 37-53 record. While some may look at that as a failure by major league standards, the fact is he made it to the major leagues, and that is something only a handful of men get to do. He also has had a story to tell throughout his life: he began his career in the “year of the pitcher” and faced the best of all of them during his debut in St. Louis, matched up against Bob Gibson.

Gibson’s final line was nine innings pitched, seven hits allowed, no walks, and 13 strikeouts. McAndrew went six innings, allowed six hits, was charged with one earned run, and struck out five. Gibby’s ERA dropped from 1.06 to 1.01 while his record extended to 13-5 and the story of the dominant run to 1.12 continued in the days to come.

Sources included: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The St. Joseph Gazette, and the Schenectady Gazette, and

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Celebrate '68: The Birds Pummel The 'Stros At Busch

                On July 12, 1968, Bob Gibson hurled his 15th complete game, won his ninth in a row, and celebrated an 8-1 victory over the Astros at Busch behind a 15-hit attack. Gibson had come into the game having not allowed a run in 17 innings. Sportswriters around the nation were enthralled by his dominance. Eleven days earlier his 47-inning streak had come to an end, and it seemed like he simply picked up right where he left off. However, the club from Houston did grab a run against him in the seventh, ending that streak at 23, but that did not mean it was not Bob Gibson’s day. He owned the Astros that day and so did the rest of the men who wore the Birds on the Bat.

            The only man who did not pick up a hit against the Astros was Gibson. One through eight enjoyed a hit parade. The parade started early with Lou Brock leading off the bottom half of the first with a triple. Julian Javier knocked him in with a sacrifice fly to make it 1-0 good guys.

            Houston’s starter Denny Lemaster did toss some clean innings. He worked through a scoreless second but ran into some two-out trouble in the third, which came in the form of three singles in a row by Curt Flood, Orlando Cepeda, and Mike Shannon who picked an RBI to make it 2-0.

            Lemaster worked through scoreless fourth, but he could not do the same in the fifth. Brock opened the inning with a single, stole second, moved to third on an error, then scored on a one out single by Curt Flood to make it 3-0. The 3-0 lead held steady until the seventh. Gibson gave up a one out single to Rusty Staub, then struck out Jim Wynn before watching his scoreless innings streak end when Denis Menke doubled in Staub to make it 3-1. The streak may have ended, but Bob Gibson went right back to work and retired Doug Rader to end the inning.

            Lemaster’s day ended in the top of the eighth after being lifted for a pinch hitter, and in the bottom of the eighth his replacement Tom Dukes imploded. He watched the entire Cardinals bat around in the inning and watched five runs cross the dish in the process. The true hit parade started with a single by Cepeda who moved to second on a bunt groundout by Shannon. The Cardinals catcher Johnny Edwards singled to left to bring Cepeda in, which was followed by a big blast by Bobby Tolan to make it 6-1. Dal Maxvill reached with a one out single, Gibson moved him over with a sac bunt, he then scored on a single by Javier. Flood topped things off with his fourth hit of the day, scoring Brock to make it 8-1. Dukes was finally able to get out the inning after facing Cepeda for the second time in the frame.

            Bob Gibson came back to the mound in the top of the ninth with the more than comfortable lead. Granted, a one or two run lead may have felt comfortable to Gibson. He set the last three men down in a row with successive groundouts. I’m sure it had to feel good for Bob Gibson that day to not only get the victory, but to also have the bats come alive around him. His final line was nine innings pitched, three hits allowed, one earned run, no walks, and eight strikeouts. The one run allowed kept his ERA at 1.06.  His dominance was far from over, as the Summer of ’68 continued...

Sources included: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Victoria Advocate, The Southeast Missourian, and 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Celebrate '68: Gibson Blanks Marichal And The Giants In San Fran

                On July 6, 1968, just days after facing Don Drysdale in Los Angeles, Bob Gibson went head-to-head with Juan Marichal in San Francisco. More than 28,000 souls packed the stands at Candlestick Park to witness this one. Marichal was a 15-game winner at that point, and Bob Gibson was coming into the City by the Bay on fire, having won seven in a row. During that seven game winning streak Gibby had sprinkled in the impressive 47 consecutive innings thrown without allowing a run. That streak had come to an end against Drysdale five days earlier. However, Gibson was not done shutting down and shutting out his opponents. He would win his eighth in a row in what proved to be a 3-0 win for the Redbirds. It was Gibson's 14th complete game of the campaign.

            The biggest hit of the day came in the first inning. It was a two-run blast by Gibson’s batterymate Johnny Edwards. It was only Edwards’ second home run of that season and boy was it a big one. The Cardinals put another run on the board in the second when Dick Schofield reached base on an error, which was followed by a double by Gibson that pushed him to third. Moments later, Schofield came into score on another error. The score was 3-0 and it was all Bob Gibson from there.

            Gibby did run into some trouble in the sixth. Willie McCovey singled to start the inning, Jim Ray Hart doubled, which moved McCovey to third, before Gibby issued a walk to Dick Dietz. The bases were loaded and there were no outs. If the Giants were going to have a shot in this one, it was then. They would not have a shot in this one though because Gibson struck out the next three batters in a haste. It took him just 11 pitches to set down Bobby Bonds, pinch-hitter Dave Marshall, and Marichal who had to know that his boys just missed a huge opportunity. Opportunities like that were a rarity when Bob Gibson was on the bump.  

            Only one more batter reached base against Gibson the rest of the day, which came when Dietz walked in the eighth. Gibson sailed the rest of the way. As did Marichal. The final line for the Giants All Star was 10 hits allowed, three earned runs, while striking out five. Gibson allowed just six hits and struck out nine. It was his 14th complete game of the season. Gibson's record moved to 11-5, his ERA dropped from 1.13 to 1.06, as the Summer of ’68 continued. It would be a Summer in baseball that will never be forgotten.

Sources included: The St. Petersburg Times, The Victoria Advocate, The Pittsburgh Press, and  

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Celebrate '68: Gibson's Scoreless Streak Ends, But He Still Wins The War In L.A.

            On July 1, 1968, the eyes were in Los Angeles as Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale went head-to-head at Dodger Stadium. Newspapers across the country reported that nearly 55,000 fans packed into the stands to watch this matchup. Gibson came in looking to match Drysdale’s streak of six shutouts in a row that had been set in early June. Drysdale had also set the mark of 58 consecutive scoreless innings thrown during what was an unforgettable run in baseball history earlier that season. Coming into this game, Gibson had thrown 47 innings without allowing a run, so all eyes were on these records. Drysdale’s records would remain intact, though, as Gibson surrendered a run in the first inning of the contest against the Dodgers. However, Gibson may have lost that battle, but the war against Don Drysdale was won, as Gibson recorded his 10th win of the season, and his 13th complete game, defeating the Dodgers 5-1.

            Gibson began the game with back-to-back outs before allowing Len Gabrielson and Tom Haller to reach on back-to-back singles. Haller’s single moved Gabrielson over to third, just 90 feet from home plate, and he dashed those 90 feet when Gibby threw a wild one by his batterymate Johnny Edwards, which gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. When Gabrielson got to home plate, he jumped on the dish knowing that he had ended Gibson’s streaks. Little did he know that Gibson would simply handle his business from there, while Drysdale would only go six and a third before being lifted while trailing.

            It did not take long for the Cardinals to give Gibson that run back. In fact, the boys that wore the birds on the bat scored a run in the top of the second on a sacrifice fly by Julian Javier, which scored Bobby Tolan. The score was 1-1 until the sixth when Orlando Cepeda recorded an RBI by knocking in Curt Flood with a sac fly.

            A three-run seventh was the beginning of the end for Drysdale. He surrendered back-to-back singles to Javier and Dal Maxvill to begin the inning, then watched the Redbird lead jump to 3-0 when Gibson himself knocked in Javier on a groundout. Lou Brock knocked Maxvill in with a single, then Flood brought Brock into score with an RBI single. Drysdale’s day was over. The Cardinals lineup and Bob Gibson had gotten the best of him. It was all the Dodgers manager Walter Alston would need to see from Drysdale, as he called on Jim Brewer to take the ball from his starter. The Dodgers bullpen held their ground, but it did not matter with the Cardinals leading by a score of 5-1 with Bob Gibson on the mound.
            Gibby did allow two men to reach in the ninth, walking Ken Boyer, then allowing a single Jim Lefebvre all with one out. He then retired Wes Parker on a foul ball that landed in Mike Shannon’s glove. That was followed by a strikeout of pinch hitter Bob Bailey. The day belonged to Bob Gibson.

            When asked about the wild pitch that ended his streak, Gibson was accountable. He understood it was his fault. He lost control and the run scored. With that said, as mentioned in the last edition of this Celebrate ’68 series, Bob Gibson was not focused on the record book. He was focused on winning, and that is what he did. He was a guiding force for the club that was destined to own the National League flag.

Sources included: Beatrice Daily Sun, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Southeast Missourian,, as well as

Side notes: Gibson’s final line was one earned run, nine hits allowed, four strikeouts, and his ERA dropped, from 1.14 to 1.13. What mattered the most was the win because that is what Bob Gibson came to the ballpark to do. Currently, Bob Gibson’s 47 consecutive innings thrown without allowing a run is third on the all-time list. Drysdale is second on the list with 58. Orel Hershiser broke the record in 1988 when he eclipsed the mark by going 59 innings in a row without allowing a run.