Gibson played in the majors from 1959 to 1975 (all for the Cardinals). He was the Cy Young Award winner in 1968 and 1970. His 1968 season was so good, not only did he win the Cy Young, but he was also the NL MVP and in the following season, the mound was lowered due to his sheer dominance over the league.
Some surprising statistics I'd like to share:
- He only led the league in wins one time (1970 - 23)
- He only led the league in ERA one time (1968 - 1.12)
- He only led the league in strikeouts one time (1968 - 268)
He retired in 1975 at the age of 39 with a career record of 251-174, a 2.91 ERA and 3,117 strikeouts. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1981 (his first ballot) with 84.0% of the vote. I would have thought he would have had a higher percentage. I guess that doesn't matter. He's in, of course.
I don't think any of this should cheapen Gibson's legacy at all. In my mind, he is one of the legendary pitchers of all time. If I wanted to pick a pitcher to start game 7 of the World Series, Gibson would be right at the top of my list.