Wendel: The Gibson-McCarver bond

From SABR member Tim Wendel at The National Pastime Museum on December 5, 2013:

It was fitting that Bob Gibson lent a hand with Tim McCarver’s recent send-off at Fox Sports with a key salute as the catcher-turned-broadcaster left the booth after his 24th World Series. For the Gibson-McCarver friendship remains one of the enduring and one of the most improbable ever in the game.

Forty-five years ago, after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, McCarver tried to discuss the tragic news with the staff ace during spring training in Florida. Gibson didn’t want anything to do with McCarver on that morning after. No matter that the two had broken in the same season, 1959, and had become one of the most successful batteries with the St. Louis Cardinals. 

Gibson told his catcher there was no way McCarver could understand what he was feeling. That it was impossible for whites, no matter how well intentioned, to ever totally overcome prejudice. It probably didn’t help that McCarver was from Memphis, of all places, and the son of a police officer.

But McCarver refused to let the situation go. He stood his ground, telling Gibson that it was possible for people to change. If anything he was a prime example.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/gibson-mccarver-bond

Originally published: December 5, 2013. Last Updated: December 5, 2013.