In 1979, there was a gathering of 18 of the World Series MVPs from the last 25 years.
The players were asked who would be their first selection if they were choosing sides for a team consisting of the honored players.
Sandy Koufax received eight votes and Whitey Ford picked up three. Bob Gibson, not surprisingly, selected Frank Robinson as his first pick.
Gibson then stated, to no one in particular, “I’d never pick a pitcher.”
One of the players asked him, “Why wouldn’t you pick a pitcher?”
Gibson turned to the group and dryly replied, “Because I’m pitching.”
Joe Torre, who was Gibson’s teammate from 1969-74, knew Gibson better than anyone. As New York Mets manager, Torre hired Gibson to be the Mets’ “attitude coach” in 1981. Today, he would be the bench coach.
Torre felt that the moribund Mets had to develop a more menacing attitude. Yes, that’s what he believed.
When he managed the New York Yankees years later, Torre appeared to have mellowed. The reality was he never became mellow. He learned to be diplomatic.
Gibson retired following the 1975 season with 251 wins, a 2.91 ERA, a 128 ERA+ and a 1.1888 WHIP. He is regarded as baseball’s angriest starting pitcher.
Gibson’s bread and butter pitch was the inside fast ball. He strongly believed that it was counterproductive to become friendly with hitters-not only the opposition’s hitters, but all hitters.
Speaking to Dave Anderson of the New York Times, Gibson told the journalist
“Pitchers ought to stay away from hitters. There’s no way Orlando Cepeda would’ve hit Juan Marichal as well as he did if Marichal hadn’t talked to him so much.”
Gibson meant what he said.
At his many All-Star games, he ignored not only the National League hitters but those from the American League as well. This was before free agency.
When he was asked why he avoided the American Leaguers, he simply said that he might be traded there.
Although he threw inside, Gibson wasn’t a “head hunter.” He firmly defended his position that when a batter was hit, it was his own fault.
“I think most guys who get hit, it’s their fault. They sort of hit themselves. I know when I hit a guy, 99 percent of the time it was because the other team was throwing at guys on my team.”
The days of Bob Gibson no longer exist. They haven’t existed for a long time, which is sad.
Anderson, D. (1980, Nov 03). Bob gibson’s tenacity. New York Times (1923-Current File), pp. C8-C8. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/121087337?accountid=4620