Wednesday, January 23, 2013

2013 Topps Baseball Release Countdown #8

The 1968 Major League Baseball season was scheduled to open on April 8th, with 10 games on the slate. But with the assassination of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the start of the season was delayed two days in order to accommodate the funeral, which was to take place in Atlanta on Tuesday the 9th.

1969 Topps #8 ERA Leaders
When Opening Day finally arrived, Atlanta opened up in St. Louis, facing Bob Gibson and the Cardinals. Trailing 1-0, the Cardinals scored a run in the bottom of the 8th, and then another in the bottom of the ninth to win it 2-1. Gibson, who pitched 7 innings that night, allowed only 3 hits, 1 run (un-earned), and walked only one while getting a no-decision.

 In his second start of the season- again, against Atlanta- Gibby  received another no-decision while pitching seven innings and giving up 3 runs (all earned) on 5 hits. It would be the last time he pitched less than 8 innings that regular season.  

AMAZING! (One year early)
  • His 1.12 ERA during the '68 season is the lowest for a starter in the modern-era.
  • In thirty-four starts during the '68 season, Gibson completed 28 of them. Yes- that's correct: 28 complete games. And, with the exception of those first two starts, he never pitched fewer than 8 innings in any one game that regular season. 
  • After two no-decisions during his first two starts of the season, he would only have one more (and that not coming until August 4th). 
  • With a record of 3-5 and an ERA of 1.52 after his May 28th start vs. the Giants, Gibson went on to win 15 out of his next 16 starts (his August 4th start was a no-decision, despite pitching 12 innings)
  • After Gibson won his 20th game of the season (September 2), his ERA stood at 0.99
  • In one stretch of 92 innings (10 games) during the months of June and July, Gibson allowed only two runs-and the first run allowed during that period was scored on a wild-pitch. He had thrown five straight complete-game shutouts.
  • During said 92 inning stretch, Gibson threw complete game shut-outs in eight of the ten starts (he allowed one run in each of the two non-shutouts, but both were complete games).
Gibson's domination continued into the World Series that season, as the Cards faced the Tigers. While facing  31-game winner Denny McClain in Game 1, Bob won the game 4-0 and struck out 17 Tigers- breaking Sandy Koufax's record for most strikeout's in a World Series game. Gibson started game four, and struck out 10 more Tiger hitters. Once again, Bob threw a complete game- allowing only 1 run on 5 hits. Proving that he was human afterall, Gibson took a Game 7 shutout into the seventh and retired the first two hitters before giving up four consecutive hits. The three runs scored by Detroit that inning proved too difficult to overcome, as St. Louis lost the game and the Series. 

"As I recall, he didn't make one bad pitch over the plate that year."~ Lou Brock

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