GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was an American professional baseball pitcher who played 17 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the St. Louis Cardinals (1959–1975). Nicknamed “Gibby” and “Hoot” (after actor Hoot Gibson), Gibson tallied 251 wins, 3,117 strikeouts, and a 2.91 earned run average (ERA) during his career. A nine-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion, he won two Cy Young Awards and the 1968 National League (NL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award. Known for a fiercely competitive nature and for intimidating opposing batters, he was elected in 1981 to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. The Cardinals retired his uniform number 45 in September 1975 and inducted him into the team Hall of Fame in 2014.Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Gibson overcame childhood illness to excel in youth sports, particularly basketball and baseball. After briefly playing under contract to both the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team and the St. Louis Cardinals organization, Gibson decided to continue playing only baseball professionally.He became a full-time starting pitcher in July 1961 and earned his first All-Star appearance in 1962. Gibson won 2 of 3 games he pitched in the 1964 World Series, then won 20 games in a season for the first time in 1965. Gibson also pitched three complete game victories in the 1967 World Series.The pinnacle of Gibson’s career was 1968, when he posted a 1.12 ERA for the season and then recorded 17 strikeouts in Game 1 of the 1968 World Series. Gibson threw a no-hitter in 1971 but began experiencing swelling in his knee in subsequent seasons. At the time of his retirement in 1978, Gibson ranked second only to Walter Johnson among major league pitchers in career strikeouts.After retiring as a player in 1975, Gibson later served as pitching coach for his former teammate Joe Torre. At one time a special instructor coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, Gibson was later selected for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999. Gibson was the author of the memoir Pitch by Pitch, with Lonnie Wheeler. Gibson died of pancreatic cancer on October 2, 2020, exactly 52 years after his memorable 1968 World Series Game 1 performance in which he struck out 17 Detroit Tigers.Today in our History – Robert Gibson (born Pack Robert Gibson; November 9, 1935 – October 2, 2020).Bob Gibson may well have been the most intimidating pitcher in history. He was certainly one of the most successful. The Omaha, Neb., native excelled at baseball and basketball in high school, and played college hoops for Creighton University before a brief stint with the Harlem Globetrotters. In 1957, he signed with the Cardinals and made his big league debut in 1959.A 15-game winner by 1962, Gibson began to take flight soon after. He won 18 games in 1963, and 19 in the Cardinals’ pennant winning season of 1964, when he went 9-2 in his final 11 starts down the stretch to lead the Redbirds. In the World Series against the Yankees, he went 2-1, winning Game 5 at Yankee Stadium and then Game 7 at home on two days rest. He was named World Series MVP.He was a 20-game winner in 1965 and ’66, winning the first of nine consecutive Gold Gloves Awards in ’65. A broken ankle in July of 1967 slowed him down to a 13-7 record, including three wins late in the season to help the Cards clinch another pennant. He went 3-0 with an ERA of 1.00 in the Cardinals’ victory over the Red Sox, winning Games 1, 4, and 7 and picking up his second World Series MVP Award.The 1968 season has come to be known as “The Year of the Pitcher,” and Bob Gibson was certainly the pitcher of the year. He went 22-9 with a sparkling ERA of 1.12 to go along with 268 strikeouts, 13 shutouts, 15 consecutive wins and a stretch of 95 innings in which he gave up just two runs. He was again 2-1 in the World Series, beating the Tigers in Games 1 and 4 before going the distance in a Game 7 loss.Gibson brought home both the 1968 Cy Young Award and the NL Most Valuable Player Awards, and, in the ultimate compliment, baseball lowered the mound the following season, because pitchers, led by Gibson, were dominating hitters and games were historically low-scoring.Gibson earned a second Cy Young Award in 1970, and pitched a no-hitter against the Pirates in 1971. Injuries were beginning to take their toll, however, and Gibson wound down with double figure victory totals in 1973 and ’74 before retiring in 1975. Gibson’s 17 years with the Cardinals netted 251 victories, 3,117 strikeouts, 56 shutouts and an ERA of 2.91. He later served as a pitching coach for the Mets, Braves, and Cardinals. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1981, and the MLB All-Century Team in 1999.Joe Torre, Gibson’s teammate from 1969-’75 and a sometime battery mate, said: “Pride, intensity, talent, respect, dedication. You need them all to describe Bob Gibson.”Gibson passed away on Oct.2, 2020. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!