Monday, December 14, 2009

Brock's Leadoff HR Starts Cards Romp!

Today’s card of the day is from the 1969 Topps set, card #165 titled “Brock’s Lead-Off HR Starts Cards’ Romp; Gibson Wins 7th in a Row”. The front of the card shows Brock hitting the second pitch of the game from Denny McClain into the seats to spark a 10-1 St. Louis win. Bob Gibson pitched a complete game 5-hit, 1 run victory while striking out 10 Tigers and both Brock and Tim McCarver had 3 hits on the day for the Cards. Al Kaline was the lone Tiger to have 2 hits and only 3 of his teammates reached base that day. The game was Bob Gibson’s 7th consecutive World Series victory and improved his career mark to 7-1 in the Series. Lou Brock was 3-5 with a pair of runs scored that day and he had an outstanding Series himself. His final stats included a .464 batting average, 2 homers, 5 RBI and 7 stolen bases. This victory gave the Cards a 3 games to 1 advantage over the Tigers in the 1968 World Series. Of course the Tigers came back and took game 5, pummeled 7 different Cardinals pitchers in game 6, winning 13-1 to set up a decisive game 7. Gibson started for the Cards trying for his 3rd win in that Series and his 8th consecutive. His opposition would be Mickey Lolich, the Tigers number 2 starter that year, who was on fire in the Classic. Lolich was the better man that day and his pitched his 3rd complete game of the Series, collecting his 3rd win and sealing the Cards doom. It was a tight game, both pitchers went the distance, but the Tigers rallied in the 7th inning scoring 3 runs, which is all Lolich needed. The scoring began when Jim Northrup belted a 2-run triple to center which scored Cash and Horton. Northrup scored himself when Bill Freehan doubled him home. The Tigers took game seven 4-1 and Lolich (3-0 1.67 ERA) was the surprise hero and the Series MVP after putting in a Gibson-like performance in the Classic. This is the second Gibson related World Series card that I have focused on, but he was that good-especially in the big games. Gibby’s career numbers in the Series are awe inspiring. Check this out: He was 7-2 in 9 starts. 8 complete games and 2 shutouts. He had a 1.89 ERA with only 17 walks to 92 strikeouts. That’s right, 92 freaking Ks in the World Series! They came over 81 innings giving Gibson an average of 9 innings per start in the WS. He finished every game he started except for 1 where he left after 8 innings, but 1 complete game went 10 innings. He pitched in 3 World Series for the Cards during the sixties, winning the first 2 and losing the final against the Detroit Tigers in 1969. He was the World Series MVP in the two that the Cards won in 1964 and 1968. At the plate he had 28 at-bats, getting 4 hits for a .143 batting average. Not too great, but 2 of those hits left the park. Not many players have 2 career World Series homers, especially a pitcher who averages 9 innings a start…
I really miss the days when the Ace of a staff went 9 innings regardless… At least I have my cards to remind me that it used to happen. I think that free agent starters should look at the box score on the back of this card and see what Bob Gibson did BEFORE they think they deserve 100 million dollar contracts because that is the bar of a great pitcher. I love this game, I love this hobby! Oh-by the by... A Colorado Rockies collector has stepped forward! Waiting for an e-mail and then the trading-free-for-all can beging! Troll out.


  1. I miss when a pitcher would go for 9 every time out as well.

    Gibby is probably my favorite pitcher of all time. His tenacity for the game is unmatched nowadays.

    I think if he pitched today, he would be just as dominant as he was in the 60's for the Cards.

  2. Big news! A Rockie collector!

    That '69 World Series subset is my favorite World Series subset.

  3. That's a great card. No way would I want to stand in there against Gibson.