The latest UCB project is this: If you could time warp to any Cards game and watch it, which would you choose? There are many obvious options, like game six of the 2011 series. But I wanted something different. I ruled out the following things:
Playoff games. Chances are quite a few people will choose these, so I’ll leave those to them. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to revisit the ’82 cards World Series clincher, but I’m being pulled in a different direction. I wanted to do something before my time.
Stan Musial games: Again, likely a popular response, so I’ll let others have him.
Any hitting milestones. Hitters typically get, at the most, five plate appearances a game. If I’m going to do this, I want to watch something that’ll engage me the entire game, from start to finish.
After setting those guidelines, I did a little research and decided to travel back to 1971. There’s nothing particularly special about that year for the Cards. They finished second in the east with a 90-72 record, seven games behind the eventual world champions, the Pirates. There was one game against the Pirates that year that jumped out at me. It was started by Bob Gibson.
Gibson, as you know, was a hall of famer and had many great years, highlighted by his incredible 1968 season. Having never seen him pitch a full game in person or on TV, he made my list of past legends I wouldn’t mind seeing. Plus it’d be interesting to see if he reputation for throwing inside and intimidating the hitter was true or not.
In 1971, he had a solid year, going 16-13 with a 3.04 ERA, and leading the league in shutouts with five.
That Pirates game, played in Pittsburgh, was one of those shutouts, a game which the cards won 11-0.
But that game, which was on August 14, wasn’t just any shutout. It was a no-hitter, the only one of Gibson’s career.
Getting to see a Cardinal legend at peak performance? Getting to watch as the pressure builds, inning after inning in enemy territory no less? Yes please. Given that it was not only a pennant winning year for the Pirates, but also the opening year of Three Rivers Stadium, I’m sure I’ll be in a packed house, and probably one of the few wearing a Cards cap. That’s fine by me. (steps into time machine)
As always, thanks for reading.