Tomasik: A battle of wills between Bob Gibson and Gene Mauch

From SABR member Mark Tomasik at RetroSimba on March 5, 2014:

In 17 years with the Cardinals, Bob Gibson hit 102 batters with pitches. In 1,489 plate appearances, Gibson was hit by a pitch just eight times.

Three of those times, Gibson was hit by Phillies pitchers playing for manager Gene Mauch. Two of those incidents involved left-hander Dennis Bennett. The last one, 50 years ago, led to Gibson being ejected and Bennett calling the Cardinals ace a “chicken” and a “coward.”

Mauch and Gibson were intense competitors. In a June 1962 game, Gibson was hit by a pitch from Bennett, then a Phillies rookie. Three months later, the Phillies’ Art Mahaffey plunked Gibson with a pitch. Mauch, then in his third season as Phillies manager, was trying to instill toughness and a winning attitude in a team that had lost 107 of 154 games in 1961. Gibson, in his second full season in the Cardinals’ rotation in 1962, was establishing himself as a consistent winner.

By 1964, both the Cardinals and Phillies were contenders. On May 4, 1964, the Phillies went into St. Louis tied with the Giants for first place in the National League. The Cardinals were 2.5 games behind.

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Originally published: March 6, 2014. Last Updated: March 6, 2014.