The St. Louis Cardinals and MLB fans are in mourning following the death of a baseball legend. Bob Gibson, a Hall of Fame pitcher, passed away on Friday at 84 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. MLB confirmed the news on Twitter with a statement, as did the St. Louis Cardinals.
"Bob Gibson quite literally changed the game of baseball. He was a fierce competitor and beloved by Cardinal Nation. We will miss him dearly. Rest in peace, Gibby," the Cardinals said in a statement. Several other prominent figures expressed similar sentiments and talked about Gibson's impact on the sport of baseball. Current Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright called Gibson one of the "most loved" Cardinals players ever.
Originally born in Nebraska in 1935, Gibson started his professional sports career as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters. However, he switched to baseball after joining the Cardinals in 1959. He remained with the organization until his retirement in 1975. During his time in St. Louis, Gibson became a nine-time All-Star and set multiple records. He was later enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 1981, his first year of eligibility.
While records are made to be broken, one of Gibson's still stands more than 40 years after his retirement. He still holds the record for most strikeouts in a World Series game (17). He also retired as the franchise's all-time leader in wins, strikeouts, games started and completed games.
"Bob Gibson was arguably one of the best athletes and among the fiercest competitors to ever play the game of baseball," said Cardinals principal owner and CEO William O. DeWitt, Jr. in a statement. "With yesterday being the anniversary of his record-setting 17 strikeout World Series game in 1968, it brought back many fond memories of Bob, and his ability to pitch at such a high level when the Cardinals were playing on the games' biggest stages. Even during the time of his recent illness, Bob remained a strong supporter of the team and remained in contact with members of the organization and several of our players. He will be sorely missed."
Gibson's best season took place in 1968, which became the "Year of the Pitcher." The late St. Louis Cardinals star posted a league-best 1.12 ERA with 268 strikeouts and 13 shutouts. He also posted 15 consecutive winning decisions and went 95 innings with only two runs given up. Gibson won both the Cy Young and the MVP Award after his dominant performance on the mound.