Deane: Gibson was great in ’68

From SABR member Bill Deane at WordPress on February 1, 2018:

This is the 50th anniversary of a historic year in baseball.  And – with apologies to Denny McLain – the Pitcher of the Year in the “Year of the Pitcher” was Bob Gibson.  Gibby had been a very good pitcher for several years through the 1967 season, and would be a very good pitcher for several more years starting in 1969.  But in 1968, particularly during a two-month stretch in mid-season, Gibson was arguably the greatest pitcher of all time.

His period of dominance actually began after he suffered a broken leg on July 15, 1967.  Returning to action on September 7, Gibson went 3-1 with a 0.96 ERA the rest of the regular season, then led the Cardinals to the world championship over the Red Sox with a 3-0, 1.00 World Series performance.  Picking up right where he left off, Gibby was 4-0, 1.64 in spring training of the next year.

Then followed Gibson’s epic 1968 season: a 1.12 ERA, the lowest ever for anyone pitching as many as 300 innings.  In fact, he flirted with a sub-one ERA, entering August with a 0.96 mark, and still standing at 0.99 after Labor Day.

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Originally published: February 2, 2018. Last Updated: February 2, 2018.