Bob Gibson St. Louis Cardinals

Age: 85 (November 09, 1935) | aka Hoot,Gibby | 195lbs. | Throws: Right
Tm Lg YEAR W L SV Hld G GS IP H HR BB SO ERA WHIP Rating BB/9 SO/9 BABIP G/L/F % $4x4 $5x5
STL NL 1959 3 5 0 0 13 9 75.2 77 4 39 48 3.33 1.53 1.35 4.6 5.7 .306 n/a
STL NL 1960 3 6 0 0 27 12 86.2 97 7 48 69 5.61 1.67 1.52 5.0 7.2 .339 n/a
STL NL 1961 13 12 1 0 35 27 211.1 186 13 119 166 3.24 1.44 1.25 5.1 7.1 .287 n/a
STL NL 1962 15 13 1 0 32 30 233.2 174 15 95 208 2.85 1.15 1.04 3.7 8.0 .261 n/a
STL NL 1963 18 9 0 0 36 33 254.2 224 19 96 204 3.39 1.26 1.18 3.4 7.2 .285 n/a
STL NL 1964 19 12 1 0 40 36 287.1 250 25 86 245 3.01 1.17 1.15 2.7 7.7 .285 n/a
STL NL 1965 20 12 1 0 38 36 299.0 243 34 103 270 3.07 1.16 1.16 3.1 8.1 .267 n/a
STL NL 1966 21 12 0 0 35 35 280.1 210 20 78 225 2.44 1.03 1.00 2.5 7.2 .251 n/a
STL NL 1967 13 7 0 0 24 24 175.1 151 10 40 147 2.98 1.09 1.06 2.1 7.5 .289 n/a
STL NL 1968 22 9 0 0 34 34 304.2 198 11 62 268 1.12 0.85 0.81 1.8 7.9 .240 n/a
STL NL 1969 20 13 0 0 35 35 314.0 251 12 95 269 2.18 1.10 1.01 2.7 7.7 .279 n/a
STL NL 1970 23 7 0 0 34 34 294.0 262 13 88 274 3.12 1.19 1.11 2.7 8.4 .310 n/a
STL NL 1971 16 13 0 0 31 31 245.2 215 14 76 185 3.04 1.18 1.12 2.8 6.8 .284 n/a
STL NL 1972 19 11 0 0 34 34 278.0 226 14 88 208 2.46 1.13 1.05 2.8 6.7 .269 n/a
STL NL 1973 12 10 0 0 25 25 195.0 159 12 57 142 2.77 1.11 1.05 2.6 6.6 .265 n/a
STL NL 1974 11 13 0 0 33 33 240.0 236 24 104 129 3.82 1.42 1.35 3.9 4.8 .279 n/a
STL NL 1975 3 10 2 0 22 14 109.0 120 10 62 60 5.04 1.67 1.52 5.1 5.0 .308 n/a
Career 17yrs 251 174 6 0 528 482 3884.1 3279 257 1336 3117 2.91 1.19 1.12 3.1 7.2 .278 n/a
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In response to both Rotoman and SandCrab, while I respect and appreciate your points, please do not tell me its a different era, and I do not mean Earned Run Average! Gibson pitched well before the large expansion list of teams with AAA hitters taking part in a Big League game. This also holds true for pitchers. I will not dispute any thing said or written about Maddux or Pedro, both future Hall of Famers (take that Dodgers and Delino Deshields), but we have to be honest when we write about the true GREATS of sports. In football, Jimmy Brown would have been a star now just a bright as in the 60's. Wilt Chamberlain would dominate basketball today even more so than in his era. Gibson, Koufax, Drysdale, Spahan, Feller, McClain, Ford, Hunter, Ryan, and the list goes on, would be just as dominate today as in their day. In fact, I would think Koufax would be even better (modern chemistry, Tommy John surgery). The great players from an generation would be great today. In reverse, do you think some of the juiced up players (including pitchers) would be as good in the 60's with out their juice? Finally, no one would ever consider Gibson made of glass...not sure of that point. Yes Pedro was a dominant pitcher in what you call the "live ball era" but keep in mind, he was great while the rest of the class was average. Take that into consideration when you compare league stats. One last point: Barry Bonds would have been a Hall of Fame player no matter what era he played in. Because of the "juice" he has lost respect and his job, but you can not take away his stats any more than you can Gibson's.
Michael Thomas ROTOMAVIN
Apr 30 '08
Certainly context of an era is the key...he may be made of glass now and that probably colors some current opinions of him but look again at the run that Pedro had and marvel. Maddux as well, but Pedro's dominance during the Live Ball/PED era will written about 50 years from now.
Apr 29 '08
I would never impugn Gibson, who was a giant of his time, but I'm not sure your logic holds up, ROTOMAVIN.

Baseball is a game of contexts. There are those who say that somehow Abner Doubleday got the size of the field right 150 years ago, when clearly the beauty of it is that the game has adjusted within the framework of the rules. And when they get too far out of balance, as they had in 1968 and 1922 and 1927 and a multitude of times, the powers that be change them.

The game used to be different. Hitters weren't as strong. Nor were they as multitalented. Most lineups had not only a bad-hitting pitcher to toss to, but a weak-hitting shortstop and as slow-footed catcher and at least one other guy who wasn't very good.

All modern hitters (almost) can hit a ball out of the park, and will if the pitcher lets down. I know it's hard to say that pitching talent is better today given the onslaught of hitting the last 15 years, but I can't see any reason why pitchers athleticism wouldn't have improved during that time the way athletes have in all sports.

In any given era complete games and shutouts are a measure of the pitcher, but that has to be taken within the context of his peers. The game is constantly changing for a lot of reasons, and to ignore that is to overlook the amazing balance that otherwise prevails. We can't compare raw numbers across eras, but the balance that is intrinsic to the game lets us triangulate.

Which is a good reason to spend time in bars.
Peter Kreutzer Rotoman
Apr 29 '08
Gibson averaged over 228 innings per year over the course of his career!! His career WHIP was 1.19!! Yes, he was one of the best of his era. The real point is that after the 1968 season, due most in part to Gibson's year, they lowered the pitching mound to give the hitters more of an advantage. This was the start of MLB trying to change the playing field to gain more fans by having offense back in the picture. If you recall, that was the season Denny McClain won 31 games! But what strikes me is that Gibson had 13 shutouts that season...13!!! B. Webb had the most shutouts in 2007 with 3! If you look at all sports, the athlete has become bigger, faster, and in most cases, a better player than in the previous generations. However, in baseball it is very clear that pitching has not been dramatically changed due to generational improvement. A fast ball is still a fastball and a curve is still a curve. What has changed is the investment of owners on pitchers, and to protect that investment, they pitch them less. The proof is in the stats...check them out. Complete games are way down, wins are down. It would seem baseball is now contemplating a six man rotation in some cases. In Gibson's era, it was a four man rotation. No one can tell me the pitching talent is better today than in 1968! The only difference is in the care of the pitchers (Tommy John surgery), weights, "juice", and personal trainers. Gibson, Koufax, McClain, all would have been just as dominant today as then. Several last points about Gibson, he was not only a great pitcher, but he was an outstanding hitter as well. He was a great fielder who could have played other positions if he had wanted to go that route. Finally, he was one tough S.O.B. who took no crap from any player. Much like Nolan Ryan, he would kick your butt if you gave him cause.
Michael Thomas ROTOMAVIN
Apr 28 '08
OK, Eugene. Let's take a look at this page:

You can click on "ML Walks Per Game" ( and see that rates were lower than today from 1900-1920 for the AL and 1900-1940 for the NL. Rates were actually HIGHER than today in the 1950s. They dropped a bit in the mid-'60s, then spiked BIG TIME right around 1968 (Gibson's huge year) to about the levels they are today. The late '70s and early '80s rates are virtually indistinguishable from today.
T.J. Rohr TJRohr
Apr 24 '08
Ashame we don't have dollar figures. What would '68 have been worth?

So, Gibson or Seaver? Those were the top two of the era, no?
Paul Benninghoff PaulB
Apr 22 '08
TJ, you didn't read my comment correctly. Very few batters and the individual league leaders are quite different when it comes to hitters. The league walk rate was lower.

And, while the league leader pitchers in walks put up higher totals, the reason for that was more innings pitched in most cases. Again, the overall league walk rate was considerably lower. So was the overall league strikeout rate. The reason: Players didn't go as deep into counts as they do today.
Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed
Apr 22 '08
"Even in the late 70's early 80's there were very few batters who worked the count."

Well, that's not true. Putting aside several of Bonds's recent freakish, otherworldly seasonal walk totals, league leaders have been around 100-120 for decades:


I just don't think people paid much attention to walk totals back then, but the best hitters were walking a bunch.

Also, Gibson walked a lot of hitters early and late in his career; when he was great, he didn't. And Maddux doesn't walk ANYONE today.

Lastly, some of the league "leaders" in walks allowed back in the day, such as Ryan, Veale, Turley, etc., allowed far more walks than league leaders today:


Although generally the leaders then had similar totals to the leaders now.
T.J. Rohr TJRohr
Apr 22 '08
You know, for all the talk of how steroids and smaller ballparks have bumped up HR totals, you never hear much about how pitchers don't throw inside due to fear of suspension.

Old timers like Gibson must shake their heads every time someone like Kyle Farnsworth gets suspended for throwing a ball behind someone's head. I agree with Eugene's assessment below, but part of the reason pitchers like Gibby used to be intimidators was because they owned the inside part of the plate. If you stood in there like Manny does, you were going to get thrown at or behind and - yes - sometimes you were going to get plunked. The hitter knew it, the pitcher knew it, and the ump knew it.
Mike Gianella MikeG
Apr 19 '08
Take a look at Gibson's walk rate. While he was a solid strikeout pitcher he didn't walk a lot of batters. Do you know why? Hitters went up and swung at the first decent pitch. They didn't look for the perfect pitch. Even in the late 70's early 80's there were very few batters who worked the count. Jim Rice was "the most feared hitter in baseball" (patent pending) and he walked fewer than 50 times a season. Maybe he wasn't that feared, but that's another argument altogether.

Since batters weren't working the count there were fewer pitches per batter. Plus the strikezone was bigger. Remember those big chest protectors that required umpires to stand up more. The higher strike was available. That all adds up to more batters per pitch and therefore more innings.

While old-time pitchers say they didn't need pitch counts, they also didn't need as many pitches to get an out. It makes a huge difference.
Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed
Feb 1 '08