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Bob Gibson in 1968

Bob Gibson in action.

I received an email last week about Bob Gibson's scoreless streak in 1968. In my response, I returned to some of the points I made in SUMMER OF '68: The Season That Changed Baseball, and America, Forever. The scoreless streak belonged to the Dodgers' Don Drysdale in the Year of the Pitcher. Bobby Kennedy's assassination on June 5 changed things around for Gibson. As Bill Deane points out:

From June 2 through July 30, 1968, Bob Gibson put on the greatest two-month display of pitching in baseball history. In a stretch of 99 innings, he gave up just TWO RUNS. One scored on a wild pitch ("a catchable ball," according to opposing first baseman Wes Parker), and the other on a bloop double which was fair by inches. Those were the only things standing between Gibby and ten straight shutouts.

Deane adds that:

Gibson pitched 13 shutouts in '68, and easily could have challenged Grover Alexander's record of 16. Besides the May 17 heartbreaker, Gibson twice pitched a complete game victory in which the only run he allowed was unearned. In all, he had 11 games in which he allowed just one run, several of them flukish. Five times during the season, he had a streak of 20+ scoreless innings. Remarkably, Gibson had a 1.83 ERA (but only a 9-9 record) in games he did NOT pitch a shutout.

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