On October 2, 1968, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson strikes out 17 Detroit Tigers in the 1st game of the World Series, breaking Sandy Koufax’s record for probably the most strikeouts in a Series game. Though the Cards finished up losing the Series in seven games, Gibson pitched three and struck out an unprecedented 35 batters.
Gibson was dealing with an injury-the year ahead of, a Roberto Clemente line drive had smashed his ankle-but he still were able to win 22 games in 1968, with 1 15-game winning streak that included 10 of his 13 shutouts. He started 34 games and completed 28 (a superb 304 2/3 innings of play) and in a single remarkable 96-inning stretch he permitted just two runs. His earned-run average was 1.12, the fourth-lowest ever.
Gibson was the National League’s MVP in 1968, but his weren’t the year’s only extraordinary accomplishments on the mound. Tigers pitcher Denny McLain (who lost twice to Gibson in the ’68 Series) won 31 games. Dodger Don Drysdale threw six shutouts in a row-a record 58 2/3 scoreless innings. The Cards and the Giants threw back-to-back no-hitters, an individual contrary to the other, and the Astros beat the Mets by scoring just one single run following an exhausting 24 innings.
People called it the Year of the Pitcher, also it didn’t happen unintentionally. The property-run-heavy early 1960s had inspired baseball commissioner Ford Frick to try and avert batters from batting really so nicely, for fear that the overall game would become aswell lopsided for fans to understand. Frick raised the pitchers’ mound from 10 inches to 15, and he implemented a more substantial strike zone. As a outcome, batting averages tumbled. Only six players hit a lot more than .300 in 1968, and Carl Yastrzemski’s .301 was the cheapest typical ever to win a league batting title.
Pitchers were happy, but no an individual else was nearly. Commissioner William Eckert was fired at the final of the growing season for not following a lot more to aid hitters. The subsequent year, new commissioner Bowie Kuhn reintroduced the 10-inch pitchers’ mound and small strike zone, and Rod Carew won the AL title with a .332 average. Since then, the designated hitter the shrinking strike zone more compact ballparks weight education and steroids and livelier baseballs have all boosted batting averages and created it tougher to pitch as successfully as Gibson and his peers.
But Gibson took the changes in stride. He struck out 10 Pirates and walked three in his only no-hitter in August 1971. Three years later, he pitched his 3,000th strikeout-only the next in MLB history to accomplish so-to Cesar Geronimo of the Cincinnati Reds. (He’d throw 3,117 in every.) He was an extremely first-ballot choice to the Hall of Fame in 1981, and fans voted him to the All-Century Team in 1999. His statue stands outside Busch Stadium in St. Louis.