Saturdays Suds: Baseball & Beer #86 Lawson’s Triple Play

15 05 2021

Another baseball-ish beer!  This one I had very recently!

Brewery: Lawson’s Finest Liquids in Waitsfield, VT

Beer: Triple Play IPA

Description:  “A trifecta of hop varieties (Citra, Simcoe & Amarillo) which delivers a symphony of juicy fruit-forward hop flavors and a delightful bouquet of aromas. Winner of Brewing News National IPA Championship (2011), there is simply ‘no batter beer’!”

I’m huge into beer these days, and this “traditional” (meaning it ain’t hazy) IPA was pretty much amazing.

Medium:  16 ounce cans – I assume it’s on draft around Vermont when they brew it as well (in normal times).

How it’s related to baseball:  It’s got a baseball motif on the can design and the name is obviously a reference to a pretty rare play in the game!

Saturdays Suds: Baseball & Beer #85 Tree House Fall Classic

3 04 2021

One more beer I’ve got to catch up on for this series!  I had this back in November and forgot to take a pic when I had the beer!

Brewery: Tree House Brewing in Charlton, MA

Beer: Fall Classic

Description:  “Fall Classic was constructed as the ideal beverage to enjoy while watching major league baseball during the autumn season. It is also simply an homage to an incredible game. Nothing else elicits such a strongly nostalgic, all-American response quite like the crack of a bat on a cool autumn day. Or, experiencing the sights and sounds of a ballgame in the flesh. Brewed with clean American ale yeast and hopped with Strata, El Dorado, and Citra, Fall Classic pours a lovely orange color in the glass and puts forward potent flavors and aromas of tropical fruit, citrus, and earthy pine. It is dry, thirst-quenching, and incredibly easy to drink. It’s hard to believe this is the first classic American IPA we have brewed, but when you drink fall classic you will have the same thought that we did – better late than never!”

Medium:  16 ounce cans – 2020 was the first year Tree House released this.

How it’s related to baseball:  It’s got a baseball motif on the can design and the name is a reference to the World Series.

Saturdays Suds: Baseball & Beer #84 Solemn Oath Warning Track Power

27 03 2021

I always love doing this series.  I was super excited when I saw this beer was coming from Solemn Oath, a fairly well-known and established brewery in the Chicagoland area.
Brewery: Solemn Oath Brewery in Naperville, IL

Beer: Warning Track Power

Description:  “Hazy Pale Ale featuring Citra, Sultana, and Azacca hops brewing in collaboration with The World Wiffle Ball Championship.”

This is a hoppy hazy beer on the lighter side of the ABV spectrum. Was a tasty crusher with an awesome can design.

Medium:  4 packs of 16 oz stickered cans, and I’m sure there was some draft available.

How it’s related to baseball:  This is about as good as it gets for this blog.  They have copied the 1987 Topps design (my all-time fave) and it’s a collaboration with the World Wiffle Ball Championship.  There’s also some sneaky Guaranteed Rate Field (U.S. Cellular?  New Comiskey?) stuff going on in the background.  This came out when nobody was allowed in baseball parks, but it would do well at the craft section of the Sox ballpark!

RIP Hank Aaron, 1934-2021

24 03 2021

As an irregular and irrational baseball fan my whole life, I can’t describe the sadness I felt when I learned Hank Aaron died.  In the world of twitter today, it was reported outlets early the morning of January 22nd.  I remember hoping it wasn’t true – ESPN, CNN/SI and other major outlets were silent for over an hour that morning.  I thought maybe it was a mistake –  that Atlanta paper/website surely will go out of business.  In all the sadness brought by COVID-19, I knew that his last tweets from his account was about 10 days or two weeks earlier of him getting the COVID-19 vaccine.  I thought about the misinformation that would spread about COVID vaccines.

But mostly I thought about a hero who I’d never seen play but meant so much to my baseball fandom.

Alas, the first reporters were correct and at some level were just doing their job.  To report the passing of a legend, and more importantly, an American hero.

Hank Aaron is the first name in the baseball encyclopedia.  Just before his brother, Tommy Aaron.  It’s fitting, for so long he was the record holder of the most important record in the game.  Once that record was broken, it seemed to lose much of its luster.  In a way it was the baseball’s Berlin wall, the last abdication of the throne of America’s game to the NFL.

I’m still at a loss for words about Aaron’s death.  I met him for about 20 seconds getting an autograph.  I’ve pulled an autograph of his from a Topps pack.  Both were when he was older and clearly couldn’t pen a gem like he could in his youth or middle age.  In a way, that was all the more special.  Aaron’s beauty was always that he was human in a way that Babe Ruth (or comic book Bonds) never seemed.  When he died, he was not the greatest living player – that would belong to Mays or Bonds depending on how you want to consider PEDs.  But he was the game’s biggest icon, and a month later I still don’t feel like going through his biography on SABR like some of the other players who’ve passed away.  Pointing out that he won the 1957 MVP feels fairly insignificant.

I’d say this – Tom Stanton has a great book about the build up to Aaron’s record breaking homer to pass Ruth.  I plan on reading that again this year (and I never read a book twice!).

Rest in Peace Hank, you had a hammer and you used it to shape our country for the best.

RIP Don Sutton, 1945-2021

21 03 2021

Less than 2 weeks after Tommy LaSorda died, another Dodgers great passed away when Don Sutton died on January 19th after a long battle with cancer.  After Seaver and Niekro – Sutton was the third 300 game winner of the past year.

Sutton was a model of consistency.  He came up to the Dodgers’ big league club in 1966 at the age of 21 and went 12-12 over 225 innings for the team.  He was the 4th starter for the NL champions – but there was a lot to say for being that reliable for a top notch team.  He overlapped that one season with Sandy Koufax – Koufax (who is only 9 years older than Sutton), was finishing up the most dominant pitching stretch in modern history.  He would retire after the Dodgers were swept in the World Series by the Baltimore Orioles.  Sutton didn’t get to pitch in that World Series – and the disappointment at the game’s greatest stage became something of a theme for this all-time great.

That aside, Sutton became a workhorse like quite a few of the great pitchers of that era.  He threw over 200 innings for 20 of the next 21 seasons – only missing the 1981 strike season when he pitched 159 innings and would have almost assuredly met that mark in a full season.  Even in 1987 at the age of 42, he missed the 200 mark by a mere 8.1 innings.

I found an interesting (dubious) record for Sutton – he has the most at bats in MLB history without a homer.

Back to the postseason.  What struck me with Sutton was how unlucky he seamed to be as far as getting a World Series ring.  He lit the minor leagues on fire in 1965, going 23-7 at A and AA level but wasn’t called up when the Dodgers won the World Series.  The next year he was debatably the Dodgers 2nd best pitcher but didn’t get to pitch in the World Sereis – with the Dodgers down 3-0, Walter Alston passed him over for Don Drysdale for game 4 (Drysdale pitched great in a 1-0 loss, the Dodgers issue was their hitting which scored 2 runs in the whole series).

The Dodgers made 3 more World Series in his tenure with the team – losing 4-1 to Oakland in 1974, then dumping back to back series to the Yankees in 1977 and 1978.  After 15 seasons with the Dodgers, Sutton left via free agency to join the Astros in 1981 – and of course, LA won the World Series.  In 1982, he was traded to the Brewers, who lost to the Cardinals 4-3 (in fairness, he contributed greatly to that loss).  In 1985 he was with the fabled Angels who lost the ALCS in 7 games to the Boston Red Sox.

He went back to the Dodgers in 1988 for his last season, and though he didn’t finish the season there, he technically notched that World Series ring.  He retired as (and still is) the Dodgers all-time leader in just about every cumulative statistic – though Clayton Kershaw could pass a few of those (or at least strikeouts).

RIP to an underrated pitcher!


RIP Tommy LaSorda, 1927-2021

19 03 2021

It didn’t take long for 2021 to continue the trend of us losing Hall of Famers.  On January 7th, after years of scares from heart troubles, a heart attack claimed the life of former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda.

Lasorda’s baseball life was incredible.  If he never went into managing, he would have been footnoted as a great minor leaguer who just didn’t make it at the next level.  He won 136 games in the minor leagues – 110 of them at the AAA level.  He’s the Montreal Royals (the Dodgers’ top farm team from the 40s and 50s) all-time leader in wins and is in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.  Yet he pitched in a total of 26 games at the Major League level and never notched a pitching victory: 0-4, 6.48 ERA, 37 K, 56 walks and 53 hits in 58 innings.  Clearly he had good stuff that he couldn’t control.  He did get one save!  Though I think that may have been retroactive – before MLB actually called it a stat.

Lasorda may have been the victim of bad timing, he lost 2 years (1946-47) while enlisted in the Army.  But he also was part of a great organization in the Dodgers.  He threw pitches to Roy Campanella.  He was on the same staff of Sandy Koufax and Don Newcombe in the Majors and with Don Drysdale in the Minors.  He was teammates with Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, Gil Hodges and (with the KC Athletics) Enos Slaughter. He pitched (albeit poorly) for the the “Dem Bums” team that ended the Dodgers World Series drought.

His managerial record is stellar.  1,599 wins, 2 World Series wins and 2 more appearances.  If you just looked at those 20 years at the helm for the Dodgers I don’t think that would make him the slam dunk Hall of Famer that he ended up being.  From 1948 on, with the exception of 1956 when he was with the A’s and Yankees organizations, he was a Dodger.  70+ years affiliated with the same organization in just about every capacity (minor leaguer, major leaguer, scout, minor league manager, major league coach, major league manager, front office executive and consultant).  And the pizazz and general fun that he was known for, which is well captured in the card above.  He lived a good, long life, and though the Dodgers are the reigning champs – they will miss not having Lasorda as a part of their organization for the first time since they moved to Los Angeles.

RIP Tommy Lasorda – 1927-2021.

RIP Phil Niekro, 1939-2020

11 03 2021

Back to catching up on a few more of these posts.  The next Hall of Famer who passed away doesn’t hit home for me like Joe Morgan did, but Phil Niekro’s passing does make me sad how many 300 game winners have passed away.  I am guessing Randy Johnson will be the last of that club.

Since I came into card-collecting age in the late 80’s – my cardboard memories of Phil Niekro are not with the team where he spent the overwhelming majority of his career.  In fact, the 1988 Topps Record Breaker subset (2nd in the middle row) with his brother is easily the card I think of first for him.

But he spent 20 (plus 1 additional start) of his 24 seasons with the Braves, and was a phenomenal knuckler who ate up a ton of innings for some pretty bad Braves teams.  In his career, he only pitched in 2 playoff games – 13 years apart the Braves made the 1969 and 1982 NLCS – both times swept by the eventual World Champions.  He went 0-1 with an OK 3.86 ERA over 14 innings in his 2 starts.

He was born in Blaine, Ohio, just a little past the Ohio River from West Virginia and his family moved a mile or so east to Lansing shortly after he was born.  His father, a coal miner who played some baseball in his free time, taught him the knuckleball when he was about 8 years old.  Phil practiced the pitch with his best friend growing up – John Havlicek.  Pretty amazing that in about 6 years – considering Phil, his younger brother Joe and Havlicek – the same tiny town of 500 or so could produce 26,000 NBA points and 539 MLB wins!

They attended Bridgeport High School one town over, Havlicek went on to play basketball for Ohio State while Phil was signed to play in the Braves minor league system.  Here’s a great article on Niekro and Havlicek growing up.

Niekro struggled at first, nearly getting cut from class D ball.  For comparison, Havlicek (despite going to 4 years of college and being a year younger) made it to the NBA 2 years ahead of Niekro, and Phil didn’t come up to MLB for good for another 3 years after that.  Some of that was his knuckle ball – it was hard to catch.  Some of that was that he spent 1963 away from pro ball in military service.  And finally, in 1964 when he did come up as a reliever, he was soon sent back down because the Braves realized he was good enough to become a starter.  After two more years of back and forth – he came up for good in 1967, going 11-9 with a 1.87 ERA (his lone ERA title).

From there, he became a steady workhorse for the Braves.  He went 23-13 in 1969, winning the division clinching game for the Braves that year and notching a second place Cy Young finish (which meant he got 1 vote – Tom Seaver was the runaway winner).  He has been quoted saying that was his best year – but I think he’s selling his seasons in the late 70’s short.  He probably deserved the Cy Young Award in 1978, when he threw 334 innings (74 more than winner Gaylord Perry).  But the Braves offense was awful and writer’s of the time weren’t going to reward a 19-18 record.

Here’s some highlights of looking through his statistical accomplishments – and I must say, I didn’t realize how good he was!

  • Niekro was the last pitcher to throw over 310 innings in a season (342 in 1979), and only Steve Carlton (304 the next year) has thrown 300 since.  Those 342 innings pitched were in his age 40 season!
  • From 1977 to 1979 he averaged 336 innings pitched per season, and over a 7 year span from 1974 to 1980 he averaged over 300 IP!
  • His 5,400 innings pitched place him 4th all-time, and the 3 guys ahead of him (Cy Young, Pud Galvin, Walter Johnson) all pitched before 1928.
  • In that 1979 season he led the National League in both wins and losses (I believe he’s the only player to do this).  He went 21-20.  Niekro and Wilbur Wood (24-20 in 1973), are the only pitchers to have 20 wins and losses in the same season since the Dead Ball era.  Nobody has had more than 34 decisions since that season.
  • Niekro won his 300th game at the age of 46 – throwing a shutout for the Yankees and becoming the oldest pitcher in history to throw a shutout (Jamie Moyer has since eclipsed that record).
  • Niekro is incredibly underrated, in part because his teams were really bad.  His career WAR of 97 is 6th since the dead ball era – behind only Clemens, Grove, Seaver, Maddux and Johnson.  That puts him ahead of Warren Spahn, Steve Carlton, Nolan Ryan.  He is the all-time leader in WAR for the Braves since they moved to Atlanta – and only Spahn and Aaron have a higher WAR with the Braves franchise.  That puts him ahead of Mathews, Chipper, Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Murphy, and Andruw Jones.  Yet it took the BBWAA 5 tries to elect him!

Of course, you can’t think of the older Niekro without mentioning his younger brother.  Joe, who died 14 years before Phil, was also a great pitcher.  He didn’t use the knuckleball as much his brother at first, but eventually started to after he joined his brother in Atlanta in the 1973 season.  The 539 wins they accumulated are the most of a brother duo – and they did get to play 2 seasons in Atlanta together and the end of the 1985 season in New York.

RIP to an underrated legend!

RIP Joe Morgan, 1943-2020

16 02 2021

This one hit home.  As a big Reds fan, how could it not.  I’ve got a couple things autographed by the whole Big Red Machine, and having those makes me acutely aware Joe Morgan was unfortunately the first player from the Big 8 to pass away. 

Though some didn’t like him as a broadcaster, his impact and influence on the game of baseball was undeniable.  He was active as a member of the Hall of Fame’s board.

Morgan was born in Texas but moved to Oakland with his family at the age of 5.  After being a standout athlete in multiple sports, he went to Oakland Community College and did well enough to get signed by the Houston Colt 45’s.  He was a standout in A-ball in 1963 and in AA-ball in 1964, and got cups of coffee with the Colts both years. 

I always enjoyed that his dual player rookie card with Sonny Jackson has the Colt 45’s logo – they switched to the Astros by the time he got his first solo card in 1966.


That 1964 season was the last time he’d play in the minors – in 1965 he was Houston’s starting 2nd baseman and was runner up for the Rookie of the Year award.  By just about every metric but RBI he was more deserving than Jim Lefebvre of the Dodgers that year.

Morgan was a very good player for 7 seasons in Houston.  He made 2 All-Star teams and probably deserved to make 2 or 3 more.  He was traded to the Reds – along with fellow BRM’er Cesar Geronimo – in a blockbuster for Lee May and Tommy Helms.  The rest, as they say was history.  Morgan’s next 6 years was the best stretch of baseball by a second baseman in the history of the game.  The Big Red Machine was ripe with incredible players.  As was Morgan – Bench, Rose and Foster were all MVP winners during their career.  And Tony Perez was a fellow Hall of Famer, while Davey Concepcion was a borderline HOF-er and Cesar Geronimo and Ken Griffey Sr were perennial all-stars.

But there’s something to be said for being the best player on the best team.  And while the Big Red Machine was a thing from roughly 1970 through 1977 – they are one of two teams in the argument for the best of all time because of the 1975 and 1976 seasons.  And those were the two years that Morgan – despite being a sabermetric darling when sabermetrics didn’t exist – won his two MVPs.  Reciting his statistics probably doesn’t do him justice, but I’ll say a few things:

  • his OBP was .456 over those 2 championship seasons in 1975 and 1976
  • his baseball-reference WAR from 1972 to 1976 averaged 9.5, which for reference is a little better than Mike Trout’s best 5 year stretch.
  • in 1972 (Bench) and 1973 (Rose) when his teammates won the award, every site I can find considers Morgan the better player on that team.  In 1974 Mike Schmidt should have been the MVP, and Morgan should have been second – but most metrics have Morgan as the best position player in baseball for 4 out of 5 years and the second best the other season.  The only players I can think of who can claim that kind of a peak are Ruth, Bonds and maybe Wagner, Cobb or Trout.  Three of those guys were way before MLB expansion and integration.  And only Wagner played the infield.
  • His batting stance and the dipping right elbow was cool AF

Morgan was greatly appreciated during his career, but hindsight shows us he was actually underappreciated because the world didn’t understand the value of getting on base.  And he had a .392 career OBP despite playing a large part of his career in eras that were very defense-leaning.

His broadcasting on Sunday Night Baseball and other avenues has been a big factor in how people viewed him in the latter part of his career.  He was something of punching bag in a prominent passage of the book Moneyball, which is funny because the book at the same time points out he was underrated as a player.  He probably had a little bit of a “get off my lawn” leaning as a broadcaster, but I always enjoyed him.  Maybe because I knew he was on my team.  Those fire Joe Morgan websites were always a bit much (actually a lot much) to me.I mention above that I have a couple autographed Big Red Machine items.  I got those autographs when I was quite a bit younger and he was always friendly in the setting.  I believe he cared about fans of baseball, and I don’t think the narrative that arose that he knew more than everyone else was fair.

Regardless of all that, I think he got his due after the fact, deservedly so.  He was well-respected in the game and had a big influence on the Hall of Fame in his later years.  His health had been deteriorating in the past decade or so, but I was so sad to hear he passed away.  Pete Rose and Johnny Bench are probably the 2 greatest Reds just because of the pure number of seasons they spent with the team, but Joe Morgan had the best stretch of any Reds player.  I always viewed the best teams in history this way.  Only two teams had multiple guys who could claim legit argument as the best player at their position.  The 1927 Yankees had Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, but the Big Red Machine had Bench and Morgan at their peak – but then Rose, Perez, Foster and 3 other All-Stars as well.  I’d go with the guys in Riverfront.

Rest in Peace, Joe!

RIP Whitey Ford, 1928-2020

10 02 2021

From one great World Series pitcher to another, unfortunately we lost a lot of Hall of Famers in 2020.

Edward Charles Ford was a great pitcher.  If you look at his stats, he was never viewed as dominant as some of the greats from the 50’s and 60’s.  Though I do think he gets a bit of a raw deal for two reasons.  First, he missed 2 years in his early career – when he was effectively at his prime – to the Korean War.  Unlike a number of hitters (Williams & Mays come to mind) – I don’t think that’s widely remembered about Ford.  Second, it’s believed that Casey Stengel tended to save him for the Yankees tougher matchups to make impact.  

Regardless of all that, with Whitey Ford – it was all about winning, and winning when it mattered most.  He holds the highest career winning percentage for pitchers with 200 wins – though Pedro Martinez was ahead of him briefly before his final season with the Mets, and Clayton Kershaw seems like he could pass him.  But winning 69% of your games is pretty insane.

And his World Series exploits were particularly notable.  He has won the most games (10) in the history of the Fall Classic.  Though he’s also lost (8) the most!  The Yankees won 6 titles and 11 AL pennants during his tenure as “Chairman of the Board”.  And he broke Babe Ruth’s long-standing World Series of consecutive scoreless innings pitched.  He pitched 2 complete game shutouts in the 1960 World Series.  This included a blowout game 6 that sent the Yankees to the incredible game 7 that ended in a Bill Mazeroski homer.  The next year, he helped the Yanks get back to the top of the baseball world against my Redlegs.  He started the Series off on the right foot with another CG-SHO (2-0), then won game 4 going 5 scoreless innings. 

That effort got him past Ruth’s mark, and he extended it another inning when the Yankees were back in the 1962 World Series against Mays’ Giants.  His streak actually ended on a squeeze bunt with 2 outs in the second inning that scored Mays from third.  The final tally was 33 & 2/3, and it hasn’t been reached since.  Side note – I had to check on Madison Bumgarner to be sure.  MadBum has given up 1 run in his 36 WS innings, but that run came in the middle of his 5 appearances.

As I’ve posted before – Ford is the subject of the favorite card I own.  I don’t talk about this blog much to people I know, but did send this post to my parents when he passed away.  This post probably says it as best as I can – Ford is my Dad’s baseball hero not mine.  But in many ways that makes him even more baseball royalty in my mind.

Rest in Peace, Whitey!

RIP Bob Gibson, 1935-2020

4 02 2021

The last two times I’ve posted one of these, another Hall of Famer has passed away.  I thought about doing a Hank Aaron tribute, given the enormity of what he meant to baseball.  But I’d prefer to do these in order.  I get a lot out of them – reading up on some of the greats of the game makes me appreciate them and the game of baseball.

75 B Gibson

The two HOF-ers from the 1960’s Cardinals juggernaut both passed away within a month of each other.  Gibson passed away on October 2nd of last year from pancreatic cancer.

Gibson was well before my time – like Brock, he retired before I was born.  I knew a lot about him as a kid – so many baseball history videos covered his World Series exploits.  A little bit unfairly, I think the one that gets covered the most is his last postseason game – one of only 2 that he lost.  More on that and his amazing World Series exploits later.

There are a couple autobiographies of Gibson, one written during his career and one after – and I hope to pick up one of them in the near future.  Pack Robert Gibson was born in 1935 in Omaha.  He was the youngest of 7 kids.  His father died before he was born and his oldest brother Josh became his father figure.  Josh had a college degree from Creighton and was the rec center director in the projects where the Gibsons lived.  So while their family grew up poor, Gibson had structure in his life with a focus on education and an outlet for athletics.  He was a great all-around athlete, and though he excelled at baseball, basketball was his favorite sport in high school.

He was offered a minor league contract with the Cardinals out of high school, but in part due to his brother’s influence he opted for a basketball scholarship to Creighton.  He was the first black athlete to receive such a scholarship.  I found this pretty cool – Creighton is to this day known as an excellent mid-major basketball school and its crazy to realize that one of the most dominant pitchers in MLB history is part of the foundation for that.  Gibson averaged 20.2 points for his career and was the team’s leading scorer 2 of his 3 seasons.  His jersey number 45 (which he would later wear for the Cardinals) hangs in the rafters as one of 5 retired by the basketball program.

He also played on the diamond at Creighton, where Bill Fitch (an assistant basketball coach for the Blue Jays) was his baseball coach.  Fitch would go on to become a Hall of Fame coach in the NBA and was at one point second to only Red Auerbach in career wins.  Gibson never got an NBA offer, though he did end up turning down an offer to travel with the Harlem Globetrotters once the Cardinals signed him that summer (1957).  He reported to their triple A affiliate in Omaha.  After being an effective hitter and pitcher in college, manager Johnny Keane determined he should focus on pitching.  The rest, as they say, is history.  Gibson was in the minors in 1958, then spent two seasons splitting time with the Cardinals.  He was held back by manager Solly Hemus, who displayed outright racism and tended to keep his black players on the bench.  He was replaced by Keane midway through the 1961 season, and the Cardinals were real contenders for the rest of that decade.

Gibson made his first All-Star game in 1962, and solidified himself as the Cardinals’ best pitcher.  He struck out 208 batters – his first time over 200 and good for 3rd in all of baseball.  He also posted a 2.85 ERA, good for 5th in the National League.  He continued to progress in 1963 and 1964, but he began making his legend in the World Series of 1964.  That year against the Yankees, the upstart Cardinals defeated the Yankees in 7 games.  Gibson didn’t start his World Series career off as particularly notable.  He pitched OK in game 2, giving up 4 runs in 8 innings.  He left the game down 4-2, but the Yankees bats came alive in the 9th off of the Cardinals relievers to make it a lopsided 8-3 final.

In game 5 of a 2-2 series, Gibson pitched 8 scoreless innings.  He entered the bottom of the 9th with a 2-0 lead, but after an error he allowed a game tying homer with 2 outs and the game went to extra innings.  His battery-mate Tim McCarver came through in the top of the 10th, however, hitting a 3-run homer.  Gibson allowed just a single in the bottom of the inning to register a complete game with no earned runs.

The Yankees won game 6, and Keane went to his Ace on just 2 days rest (and coming off the stressful 10-inning CG).  In game 7, the Cardinals jumped out to an early 3 run lead and extended it to 6-0 in the 5th inning.  Though Gibson didn’t pitch particularly well – he gave up 5 runs on 3 homers – that was all he needed and he finished the Yankees and the series off at 7-5.  Gibson was named the series MVP, and while it’s hard to argue – for my money McCarver (.478 BA, .552 OBP, 11 hits, 5 RBI, 4 runs) has a good case for the award.  I think what may have put Gibson over the top was the caliber of the Yankees hitters that he mostly kept at bay.

Incredibly – that was the least entertaining World Series Gibson was a part of.  The 1967 and 1968 World Series are all-time classics.  Those are probably better covered elsewhere; but suffice it to say Gibson was incredible.  He threw 6 total complete games (3 in each series), 2 of those being shutouts.  He again won the Series MVP in 1967, and his opener in the 1968 Series (17 strikeouts, is probably the best single game World Series pitching performance of all-time.

Here I’d like to point out Gibson’s overall World Series record.  He’s probably the greatest World Series pitcher of all-time.

  • That first World Series game was the only one where his manager ever needed a reliever.
  • Factoring in his 10-inning game in 1964, he actually equaled the tally of 9 CB’s – he pitched 81 innings over 9 games.
  • His WS career is bookended by losses – but he won all 7 games in between.
  • Not only is he the only pitcher to win multiple WS game 7’s (and only to start 3) – but Burleigh Grimes and Lew Burdette are the only others to start multiple game 7’s.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention his 1968 season, the best in modern history.  He went 22-9, with 13 shutouts, completed 28 of his 34 starts, struck out 268 batters and posted the lowest ERA in history – an incredible 1.12.  He won the Cy Young and almost single-handedly forced MLB to lower the pitching mound.

Rest in Peace, Bob!