The death announced yesterday of St Louis fireballer Bob Gibson harkens back to an era that Canadian baseball fans will never forget—the heyday of Chatham’s Fergie Jenkins, whose career partially overlapped with that of Gibson. The two pitchers faced each other nine times between 1967 and 1972 with Jenkins winning five, Gibson three and one no decision. Their first face-off as starters was on June 3, 1967, where the Cubs beat the Cardinals 7-5 before 46,670 at Busch Stadium with Gibson getting knocked out in the fifth and Jenkins getting the win, throwing 8 2/3 innings.
In 1968 they met three times including an April 20 matchup that saw both pitchers record complete games and Fergie winning 5-1. Incidentally the game was played in two hours and three minutes as both pitchers did not dawdle on the mound. In the second game Gibson pitched a 1-0 shutout and neither pitcher factored in the third game.
There were two Jenkins-Gibson face-offs in 1969, with Jenkins winning both times. Gibson won 2-1 in their only match-up in 1970,. In the 1971 opener, Jenkins outdueled Gibson 2-1. They met once more in ’72, with Gibson throwing a shutout in a 1-0 win.
Lifetime, in his 18 years in the Majors, Fergie Jenkins won 284 games, losing 226. Gibson had a 17 year career, posting 251 wins vs 174 losses. Both pitchers had over 3,000 strikeouts in their amazing careers. In today’s era where a manager thinks he’s lucky to get 6 innings out of a starting pitcher Jenkins averaged 14 complete games a year and Gibson 17.