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Elephant Rumblings: Bob Gibson, Hall of Fame pitcher, dies at 84

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For the third time in the last month, the baseball world lost one of its all-time legends. Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson died Friday at the age of 84.

The longtime St. Louis Cardinals hurler was in hospice care fighting pancreatic cancer, reports Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Gibson’s passing comes within a month of the deaths of two other Hall of Famers, fellow Cardinals great Lou Brock and New York Mets pitcher Tom Seaver, both in early September.

The right-hander from Omaha, Nebraska spent his entire 17-season career with the Cardinals, from 1959 to 1975. He’s on the short list of best pitchers in history, as well as one of the toughest competitors the sport has ever seen.

In terms of numbers, Gibson ranks 14th in career strikeouts with 3,117, to go with his 2.91 ERA in nearly 3,900 innings, adding up to slightly over 80 WAR (Top 20 among pitchers). His 1.12 ERA in 1968 is the all-time single-season record for qualified pitchers, and that performance earned him the first of his two Cy Young awards as well as the NL MVP. He added nine All-Star berths and nine Gold Gloves, plus a no-hitter in 1971.

On three occasions Gibson reached the World Series, and twice his Cardinals won, in 1964 and ‘67. Both times, he earned MVP honors after pitching Game 7, and his total postseason numbers are among the best ever. He made nine starts, and eight were complete games — once he was pulled for the 9th, but then the next time out he went 10 for the win. He won seven of the nine starts, including all three he made in 1967, and posted a 1.89 ERA in 81 innings with 92 strikeouts. His 17 Ks from 1968 Game 1 are still a postseason record.

After hanging up his spikes in 1975, the Cardinals retired his jersey number, 45. Soon after, in 1981, he was elected to the Hall of Fame on his first ballot, with 84% of the vote.

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There were only two series left in the Wild Card Round, both in the NL, and they wrapped up Friday. Click here to see the full bracket.

The No. 6 Miami Marlins completed a sweep over the No. 3 Chicago Cubs. In Game 2 they were by five scoreless innings from rookie starter Sixto Sanchez and a homer by Garrett Cooper. Miami has still never lost a postseason series in their franchise history. Final: Marlins move on, Cubs eliminated

Meanwhile, the No. 5 San Diego Padres also won in a shutout, over the No. 4 St. Louis Cardinals. However, the Friars didn’t have a starter to thank, but rather a full bullpen game, in which they used nine pitchers — a record number for a shutout, even counting the regular season. Jake Cronenworth homered and Eric Hosmer knocked in a pair, and San Diego wrapped up an epic series comeback that began when they trailed 6-2 in the 6th inning of Game 2. They basically Cardinals’d the Cardinals. Final: Padres move on, Cardinals eliminated

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