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Bob Gibson

Bob Gibson (born November 9, 1935) was a right-handed pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1959 to 1975. His record-setting career led to his election to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981.

He was born Pack Robert Gibson in Omaha, Nebraska. Despite a childhood filled with health problems, including rickets, asthma, pneumonia, and a heart murmur, he was active in sports as a youth, particularly baseball and basketball. He won a basketball scholarship to Creighton University.

In 1957, Gibson received a $4000 bonus to sign with the Cardinals. He delayed his start with the organization for a year, playing with the Harlem Globetrotters, earning the nickname "Bullet" Bob Gibson (his nickname in baseball was Hoot, after the cowboy and silent movie star). In 1958 he spent a year at the triple-A farm club in Omaha. He graduated to the major leagues in 1959 and had the first of nine 200-strikeout seasons in 1962.

In the eight seasons from 1963 to 1970, he won 156 games and lost 81. He won nine Golden Gloves, was the World Series MVP in 1964 and 1967, and won Cy Young Awards in 1968 and 1970.

His ERA in 1968 was 1.12, which is a modern record. He threw 13 shutouts, and allowed only two earned runs in 92 straight innings of pitching. He also won the National League MVP. His season was so successful that it contributed to the lowering of the pitching mound by five inches for 1969. The change had only a slight effect on him; he went 20-13 that year, with a 2.18 ERA.

He was the second pitcher in MLB history (after Walter Johnson) to strike out over 3,000 batters.

For a vivid depiction of the man and the times he pitched in, see David Halberstam's October 1964 (ISBN 0679433384; reprint ISBN 0449983676).