Pitch by Pitch gets inside the head of Bob Gibson on October 2, 1968, when he took the mound for game one of the World Series against the Detroit Tigers and struck out a record seventeen batters.
With the tension rising in the stadium, an uproarious crowd behind him, and the record for the most strikeouts thrown in a World Series game on the line, Gibson, known as one of the most intimidating pitchers in baseball history, relives every inning and each pitch of this iconic game. Facing down batter after batter, he breaks down his though process and recounts in vivid and candid detail his analysis of the players who stepped into the batter's box against him, his control of both the ball and the elements of the day, and his moments of synchronicity with teammate Tim McCarver, all the while capturing the fascinating relationship and unspoken dialogue that carries on between pitcher and catcher over the course of nine critical innings.
From the dugout to the locker room, Gibson offers a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of the players, the team's chemistry, and clubhouse culture. He recounts the story of Curt Flood, Gibson's best friend and the Cardinal center fielder, who would go on to become one of the pioneers of free agency; shares colorful anecdotes of his interactions with some of baseball's most unforgettable names, from Denny McLain and Roger Maris to Sandy Koufax and Harry Caray; and relives the confluence of events, both on and off the field, that led to one of his---and baseball's---most memorable games ever.
This deep, unfiltered insider look at one particular afternoon of baseball allows for a better understanding of how pros play the game and all the variables that a pitcher contends with as he navigates his way through a formidable lineup. Gibson's extraordinary and engrossing tale is retold from the unique viewpoint of an extremely perceptive pitcher who happens to be one of baseball's all-time greats.
Baseball Hall of Famer Gibson, a star pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals for 17 seasons, provides a fascinating peek into his complex thoughts while on the mound during one of the most memorable games in World Series history. The two-time Cy Young winner, having hurled 13 shutouts, faced Detroit pitching ace Denny McLain on October 2, 1968 in the first series game at Busch Stadium. Unafraid to reveal the flaws of his game, Gibson, with writer Lonnie Wheeler, moves with ease behind the scenes, writing about teammates, coaches, rivals, and the opposition in this savvy analysis of the landmark contest. He calls every inning and every pitch. This is not a book about fastballs or breaking pitches, but about the close bond between Gibson and catcher Tim McCarver in a 17 strikeout effort, and their winning strategies against the heart of the Tigers team: Norm Cash, Jim "the Slammer" Northup, and Bill Freehan. In each anecdote, Gibson embodies the soul of baseball: fearless, intense, and talented.