ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- It was a sad day in Cardinal Nation Saturday, as Cardinal legend Bob Gibson announced he was fighting pancreatic cancer.
The announcement, coming from his agent Dick Zitzmann, was optimistic.
"Gibson is determined like he was on the field and equally off the field," he said in a statement to News 4. "[He's] hoping for a full recovery."
Zitzmann says Gibson will undergo six months of chemotherapy.
"He's accepted this diagnosis and he's ready to deal with it, he's a fighter," said Zitzmann. "He's determined to go at this full speed."
Gibson, who won two World Series rings with the Cardinals in 1964 and 1967, has been a part of the organization since he retired. The greatest pitcher to ever wear the birds on the bat is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, as well as the Cardinals Hall of Fame.
A legend of the game, Gibson literally changed the way baseball is played with his otherworldly 1968 season. On the strength of a 22-9 record and an incomprehensible 1.12 ERA in 304.2 innings that summer, Gibson earned both the National League Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards. His performance headlined the 'Year of the Pitcher,' leading MLB to lower the height of the mound the following year.
Given the nature of the game today, it's impossible to adequately appreciate Gibson's accomplishments, his contributions to the sport, without ever having seen them in person--but the back of his baseball card is truly candy to the eyes of baseball fans.
Gibby won 251 games during his 17-year career with the Cardinals. Remarkably, he pitched 255 complete games. You've got that right: Bob Gibson had more complete games in his career than he did wins. Possibly the most fascinating statistic in baseball history gives us in the present day the faintest idea of what it must have been like to witness Gibson's greatness in person.
Gibson battled every time he took the ball; he's now involved in a different kind of fight. Cancer doesn't discriminate, but Bob Gibson is as tough as they come.