Braves 5, Reds 0 – We’re Movin’ On!

I’ll take it. Our first playoff series win since I was in high school. Two brilliant pitching performances. The bats finally woke up.

The final score doesn’t indicate how similarly tense Game 2 was to Game 1. This was another pitcher’s duel. Luis Castillo matched Ian Anderson zero for zero until the 5th when Ronald Acuna contributed his third hit on the day by knocking Austin Riley in with a double. So while the dam did not break until later, we at least had a little breathing room as we got into the latter innings.

Ian Anderson was fantastic in his first playoff start. Not that a championship-caliber pitching staff should have too many challenges with the Reds’ lineup, but Ian shoved: 6 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 9 K, 0 ER. You couldn’t have asked for anything more from the kid. Could you imagine where this team would be if Mike Soroka was healthy?

But as mentioned, the dam broke in the 8th with two-run homers by Marcell Ozuna and Adam Duvall. Ozuna, Duvall, and Dansby have all struggled, but they all hit the ball hard in the 8th, and hopefully that is a sign for the next round. The bullpen finished this small series with 9 scoreless innings with Will Smith, Chris Martin, and Mark Melancon all taking the ball for the second day in a row and giving scoreless innings. 

The Reds can’t possibly feel like they had a chance, but the Braves’ offensive issues gave them hope until the very end. We await the winner of the Cubs/Marlins series to find out who we face next round, and we’ll have to wait longer: their Game 2 was postponed due to weather. The Marlins won the first game. I’m hoping we draw the Marlins.

Enjoy it! We won a playoff series!

80 thoughts on “Braves 5, Reds 0 – We’re Movin’ On!”

  1. You know, I don’t think it’s possible to say enough good things about what Anderson did today. Everyone in the world knows our starting pitching has been dreadful, it’s the weirdest, craziest, and in many ways scariest major league season in any of our living memory, and 22-year-old Ian Anderson just made his 87th start as a professional baseball player, his seventh in an Atlanta Braves uniform.

    So he went and pitched a two-hitter that sent his team to the second round of the playoffs, something that hasn’t happened since he was three years old.

    I’m not saying he’s John Smoltz, I’m not even saying he’s Mike Soroka, but what this kid just did today is legitimately the stuff that legends are made of. Somewhere, there is a seven-year-old that just fell in love with the Braves forever and his favorite player will always be Ian Anderson.

    Personally, whatever happens from here on out, I will root for the guy for the rest of my life.

  2. I’m a little surprised, I thought the White Sox were real good. But the A’s are no joke. Couldn’t be easier to root for Oakland and Tampa.

  3. @2 Amen! Ian and Max have been quite unsung, but you could not have convinced me that two Braves starters would go 7 and 6 innings of shutout ball in the postseason at the start of this year, even before all the catastrophes the rotation endured.

  4. Max — I don’t even know where we’d be without Max. He’s our Ace with a capital A. He is the bulldog, the stopper, the guy you give the ball and know that whatever he’s got, whatever he has a feel for, he’s going to go out and he’s going to give you a good chance to win. He doesn’t get rattled, he doesn’t have Episodes, he hardly ever even gets touched up. He’s unreal.

    Hard to remember he was a rookie last year; he just feels like one of the best pitchers in the league.

  5. @148 great clip (even if it is lip sync’d). Could not be more apropos. I vote that Anderson be known as Jethro. After his namesake band and after the character who is always so serious and focused on taking down the bad guy.

    The parallels between Soroka, Fried, and Anderson to Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz could not possibly be closer. Smoltz was always at his best in the postseason and I hope we can expect the same from Anderson. I see the best characteristics of each in their doppelganger. Soroka, already an ace, is becoming a master of command much like Maddux. Fried more and more expands the plate like Glavine and has incredible breaking stuff. Anderson has got the best raw stuff and is a bulldog on the mound. As a trio, these young guys have the potential to exceed the combined production of the prior trio. The primary concern right now is that these guys stay healthy and, with Anderson and Soroka being so young, that they not flame out like Avery.

  6. @7, they look great, but let’s not put unrealistic expectations on them. Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz may well have been the best long-term trio of pitchers on the same team in baseball history, and it’s very unlikely that even these three will match their accomplishments, though I’d love to see it happen. Fried is 26 and has had one very good year and one great year that was very short and interrupted by two minor injuries. He’s won 26 games, granted that he could’ve won ten or so more if this had been a full year (and if he didn’t have more injury trouble). Through age 26, Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz between them had won two Cy Youngs, been second and third other times, had made five All-Star teams, and had each won 72 or more games. Also, echoing your point, most pitchers break, and Soroka and Fried have both missed a year with injuries, while I don’t believe their elders had any serious injuries until Smoltz was 33.

    Fwiw, Fried reminds me of Smoltz at least as much as Glavine. Maybe it’s because of his build & delivery.

  7. @8 Yes, but there are also indications they could be better. At 21, Maddux was 6-14 and Soroka was 13-4. Granted Maddux was fabulous the next year and Soroka injured, but that just evens them up. Smoltz was always plagued by little injuries and everyone said he was not living up to his potential until he won 24 games. That wasn’t until he was 29. Smoltz had his first good year at 22; same age as Anderson. Fried was lucky in that he had his lost year in the minors. He has had some little things (blisters et al), but he is likely to be very reliable from this point on.

    What I said is that these guys have the potential to be as good or better. I was talking about parallels as they exist now but true comparisons can only be made in hindsight and I hope we won’t really have that true hindsight for about 15 years. Avery had all the potential to be as good or better than one of the Big Three but he blew out his arm. That could still happen especially with the younger guys (Soroka and Anderson), but a short season like this will really help preserve their arms as they continue to mature.

    What will keep these guy from piling up the same statistics is the more recent pitching environment. Pitchers just don’t complete games any more; they’re not allowed. There are fewer 4-man rotations so there are fewer starts for each. But Fried could get the first Cy among them this year and there may be more to come. Soroka has already placed 6th in Cy voting. Fried was 17-6 last year. They are just beginning their runs of excellence. Pitching our way into and/or through the WS this year would be another leg up for them all.

  8. Neat!

    Before the 8th inning outburst, I was ready to anoint Akiyama as the goat of the game. Bad jump and bad route on Acuna’s double that scored Riley from first — the ball was scalded but he gave up immediately on the notion of cutting it off before it got to the wall, conceding the run in a 0-0 game.

  9. Of all the pitching prospects we’ve had, Anderson, Soroka, and Fried have the smoothest deliveries. I’m a believer in Ian now. Between Ian and Kyle, I think we’re a lot closer to have a second strong pitcher for the playoffs. And long-term, I feel better about where we are with pitching prospects.

    Love that we took care of business and now get as much rest as possible. Would love to catch the Marlins, their pixie dust wear off, and we sweep them with 3 strong pitching performances. Then we’ll be really confident heading into the NLCS.

  10. I think Bauer had a tremendous couple of months, but he’s a douche and I’m sure there are other good free agents who aren’t douches. I also don’t think we need to pay $30-35M for a starting pitcher if Soroka comes back healthy, and Anderson and Wright continue to develop. I’d rather put that money towards an outfielder and another piece. Plus, if your rotation includes Bauer, Soroka, Fried, Anderson, and Wright, then that doesn’t leave you any opportunity to give starts to the many pitching prospects we’ve spent draft picks and trade capital on. It would be pretty self-defeating to not give a Kyle Muller an opportunity to crack the rotation because you spent $35M on another pitching while leaving holes in other areas of the roster.

  11. I am not a huge Bauer guy. His career is just inconsistent overall and his tag will be huge.

  12. I wouldn’t mind Bauer on a 1-year deal if he really wants that. While his personality is kinda fun from afar, I think it would start to wear thin after time. He’s really one of my favorite non-Braves to watch for sure.

  13. For what it’s worth, I don’t think Bauer is a douche. Rather, his behavior has always reminded me of someone on the autism spectrum, specifically someone with Asperger’s: lack of social skills, nonverbal behavior, obsessive focus on his training regimen, etc. Armchair psychology, sure, but it always seemed to me that Asperger’s might explain why Bauer has had so much difficulty fitting in.

  14. I’m not a big Bauer fan either, but if this season has taught us anything it’s that having too many starting pitchers is not a problem to be concerned about. There likely will be starts available next year for Kyle Muller and Tucker Davidson and even Tarnok if they show that they are ready.

    Having said that, spending money on an outfield bat rather than starting pitching may make more sense. Folks are counting on Pache and Waters–and I’m high on them as well–but the lack of AAA opportunities this year may have set their development back by a season.

  15. @18
    I’ve long thought that as well. Taught many kids over the course of my 20 year teaching career with Asperger’s and many that are adults right now are very similar in personality to what Bauer portrays.

  16. Remy, I agree. I work with a tremendous amount os Aspergers students and said that to my buddies the other day.
    DH will be here, Keep Ozuna, lose Neck. Cut Ender?

  17. Trying to figure out the optimal SP lineup going forward. Wondering if it makes any sense to split up the reliable starters so as to not overuse the best arms in the pen. Something like

    10-6 Fried
    10-7 Tomlin/Matzek tandem
    10-8 Anderson
    10-9 Wright
    10-10 Wilson/pen/Fried if absolutely necessary
    10-11 off

    10-12 Fried (assuming he didn’t go in game 5)
    10-13 Anderson (so he could pitch game 7 on normal rest)
    10-14 Tomlin/Matzek
    10-15 Wright
    10-16 Wilson
    10-17 Fried
    10-18 Anderson
    10-19 OFF

    10-20 Wright (yuck)
    10-21 Wilson (double yuck)
    10-22 OFF
    10-23 Fried
    10-24 Anderson
    10-25 Wright
    10-26 OFF
    10-27 Wilson (or Fried on short rest)
    10-28 Fried (or Anderson on short rest)

  18. Moral of the story is, it would be really helpful to not take the whole series to dispose of a team.

  19. Bauer, Soroka, Fried, and Anderson would be a fearsome foursome that would immediately turn this team into a legitimate World Series contender, Barves’ing aside. I don’t think the Braves would (1) pony up the cash or (2) deal with personality, so I don’t see it happening. Bauer has said he’s only signing one-year deals for the rest of his career, which would entice AA, but I don’t believe it. Maybe he’ll sign a big contract with an annual opt-out clause that he promises not to use for a few years that will allow him to save face.

  20. Even autism is no excuse for being an a-hole. As a general rule, I don’t allow mental illness or personality disorders to absolve someone from being a prick. Plenty of folks with Aspberger’s don’t act like Bauer.

    The simple answer is Bauer is a giant narcissist.

  21. I don’t think Ozuna’s an outfielder. I also don’t think the DH is ever going away. So the real question is, how long can his legs stay under him if he’s riding the pine except for five plate appearances a game? If he’s anything like Nelson Cruz and David Ortiz, he could keep swinging the stick for a good while. Imagine how long Zombie Chipper could have kept going with a DH.

    He’s just so quick with his hands, light tower power but capable of covering the full strike zone. Watching him uncoil on an inside fastball is just awe-inspiring. I have no idea what it would take to sign him, and I really don’t trust him anywhere in the field at any time, but I’d sure be willing to throw plenty of money at him.

    The good thing about Bauer is that by his own intention he’d just be a one-year guy, so there would be no worrisome long-term commitments. So, if the suits could be persuaded to pull out a couple rolls of nickels from the register, the team could conceivably backload the Ozuna contract and afford them both.

    But both players have been up and down in their careers, with far more blah years than amazing years, despite the wonderful walk year performance. So I understand the arguments against. But I’m tired of the Braves doing almost enough. I want the Braves to do what the Dodgers did — build the best team in baseball, then trade for Mookie Betts, and basically tell the other 29 teams, “Come at me, bro.” That’s what I want my team to do.

  22. @25 Not sure he is a narcissist actually. He does not take himself too seriously either or rather holds himself to the same standard as he does others from what I have seen. Agree with Remy @18.

  23. @15, I really don’t think blocking pitching prospects is a thing to be at all concerned about. And even if it is, none of these guys had a season, so they probably all need an extra season in Triple-A anyway. You absolutely go get a frontline starter and shouldn’t even think about what that means for Kyle Muller. I couldn’t care less what it means for Kyle Muller. Maybe it means we trade him to get the frontline starter.


    We’re gonna go Fried-Anderson to start, I’m almost positive. They’re already lining it up. If we have a 2-0 series lead after that, then I’d probably go with the bullpen game in Game 3 (started by Wilson or Ynoa, I guess) and save Wright for Game 4. Otherwise, I’d use the bullpen game in Game 4. But there will be only one bullpen game in that series. If there’s a Game 5, I’m absolutely not saving Fried with an eye toward the NLCS. Starting Wilson in a playoff game is a bad enough idea (which we probably have to do anyway, unfortunately), but in a winner-take-all with your ace there on three days’ rest, it’s just a massive own goal IMO.

    I will say that I’d thought there were more off-days in between the series after it went to neutral sites. That is a bit distressing, so for the NLCS, you hope you can close it out in less than five and have Fried-Anderson to start, then judge where to throw the first AAAA starter/bullpen game from there (and I’m somewhat generously not considering Wright as a AAAA starter for these purposes). If you’re up 2-0, throw Wilson or Ynoa or whoever in Game 3. If not, probably go with Wright in Game 3. You’re gonna have to go with a 4A/bullpen game in one of the first four. Depending on where the series is entering Game 5, you can throw a second bullpen game in that one, or if you’re down 3-1 already, you can go Fried-Anderson-Wright all on three days’ rest.

    If we did have to throw Fried twice in the NLDS, it becomes a real mess that involves either Fried only pitching once in the NLCS or having him pitch on three days’ rest three straight times. Or I guess having him start once and then become a reliever for Game 7 before bringing him back to a starter’s role in the World Series…maybe? I don’t know. As Dusty said, close the LDS out in three or four please.

    I’m sure MLB thinks they’re real geniuses for having the division and championship series go off without off-days and having only one day off in between them, but it’s colossally stupid IMO, and is going to lead to some bad baseball.

  24. @25
    There’s a wonderful chart online that distinguishes between the 2, but in my experience, it’s really hard to differentiate between the 2 and you might change your opinion if you could see it first hand in kids. I won’t get too much into it but I’m currently teaching a kid with asperger’s that fights his narcissistic characteristics behind the scenes and it pushing him to a breaking point at age 11.

    Point being…if he has Asperger’s….he truly can’t help it.

  25. I’ll reiterate this point…MLB has a week or so after the season is over to figure out if the DH stays in 2021 and beyond. Sitting on hands would be unfair to the NL teams.

  26. Hey y’all, I just left an estate sale of a huge Braves fan. There were 2 full boxes of VHS home recorded Braves games. Some of them were labeled but I am guessing all are 90’s forward. They were asking 50 for them all. I left the sale but thought of all you guys. If you are interested let me know and I can grab them.

  27. @31

    Yeah, that’s…a bad look. After your team scores zero runs in 22 innings and gets swept? Yikes!

  28. 34 – I mean, it’s not his fault they didn’t score, I think it’s all in good fun and there should be more of this…

  29. @29 Do we even know if he has Asperger’s? It’s a hell of an indictment on someone to say “he’s such an a-hole, it must be a neurodevelopmental disorder!” Which means that if he doesn’t… yikes.

  30. Bauer or Ozuna? That’s easy… let’s just say I’d take Rafael Belliard over Trevor Bauer.

    I don’t care how good Trevor Bauer may have been this year. I don’t ever want to have to root for a guy like him.

    The sport needs its villains, too… let him remain a villain wearing opponent’s colors, so we can generally ignore him.

  31. @32
    We absolutely do not which is why I’m only talking about it here. Would never say this on Twitter or any other place outside the safety net that is Braves Journal.

  32. I didn’t mean Atlanta needs more of this, just the sport in general. I like fun chippy little rivalries especially all in good fun and that’s what I take from the whole Acuna/Bauer exchange.

  33. @40

    I don’t have a problem with it from our perspective. It’s actually pretty amusing to me. I would have a big problem with it if I were associated with the Cincinnati Reds in any way. And it might cause me to think twice about signing him in the offseason were I a prospective suitor for his services, which we may or may not be.

    As far as these minor “offenses” by members of other teams, though, I’m almost completely over it at this point. Every team without exception has somebody pimping a home run or something at this point, so to take major exception is just silly. Am I really gonna take exception to Bauer Conor McGregor-walking and fake-chopping off the mound when we had a guy take a fake selfie halfway down the first-base line the next day? Uh, no…no, I am not.

  34. @39 You’d get cancelled on Twitter. What a great thing to say about this blog. We’re grown-ups. Well, you guys are.

  35. For folks I’ve never met, I have a ton of respect for everyone who posts here. All y’all are smarter, funnier, and more insightful than I’ll ever be, and usually I’m content to just read and enjoy. But on the subject of Bauer, I feel compelled to chime in. I’m all in on him for the Braves, though I do realize the odds of it happening are vanishingly small.

    The obvious aside- one year deal, this year’s performance carrying over, etc.- there are a few other things I find enticing about the guy. First, if someone reputable was to say he knew more about developing pitchers than anyone in the Braves organization, I’d believe it. Not saying this is clearly true, but he knows a ton about mechanics, how to improve rotation (including but not limited to pine tar!), how to utilize cutting edge technology to assist in the above, and more. Maybe all our young guys are already getting the best possible instruction in all of this and Bauer could add nothing to their development- but I tend to doubt that. He seems willing to share his knowledge and help out, but I admit I don’t know if he’d be willing/able to make much impact on a one-year deal, so this might not matter, but it’s an appealing notion to me.

    Second, he’s doing his utmost to promote baseball. Obviously his efforts there are polarizing, but the guy does seem to truly care about promoting the sport and I respect his intentions, if not always his methods.

    Third, he’s happy to antagonize MLB and that needs to happen WAY more often. Sure, some of the stuff he does with his cleats is vulgar and in general he comes across as a bit lowbrow in his approach. Still, he’s fighting the good fight (especially with the Free Joe Kelly initiative, I thought) and I believe the historically staid Braves organization could use a bit of that fire.

    Fourth, I don’t think his persona is as bad as his PR would lead you to believe. I’ve watched some of his youtube stuff and he can be self-deprecating, and he’s even been a good sport to other players who’ve succeeded against him. No doubt his personality can be grating and maybe that’s his default setting, but for all I know there are a fair few guys like him in MLB- they just don’t advertise it like Bauer does. I’ve been a fan of players who used steroids, greenies, and cocaine- I can find a way to root for a guy whose main fault is he can be abrasive and self-aggrandizing.

  36. I don’t mind the bauer – acuna twitter stuff. It’s amusing and adds a bit of color to the typically stoic player personalities.

    It reminds me of when the teams official twitter accounts start sparring/jabbing at each other.

    As long as the guys don’t take it personally and it results in a future beanball war, go for it. The in-game stuff, however I find slightly more objectionable, since tensions are usually high when playing.

  37. Yeah, I absolutely hear where Ububba’s coming from — Trevor Bauer is a person who has invested a lot of time into cultivating a persona that’s all about how much he doesn’t care if people dislike him.

    It’s really pretty easy for an armchair psychologist to wonder just quite what drives a man to do that — could it be, maybe, an attempt to reject others before they can reject him? (No idea whether or not he’s neuroatypical, and really no desire to speculate.) At the end of the day, I don’t really care that much. I’ve read enough Trevor Bauer profiles to know that the guy is, or at least attempts to be, somewhat thoughtful; he is also, and assuredly attempts to be, a jerk.

    The Braves have employed jerks before, and will do so again. There are guys on the time I adore, and guys on the team I grit my teeth and ignore. There are some unforgivable sins, like domestic violence, that would make me never want a guy in my team’s uniform. But Bauer’s long career of being an exceptionally committed jerk doesn’t rise to that bar for me.

    On the other hand, if he takes our money, puts on our uniform, and stinks up the joint, like he’s done quite often, he will get zero sympathy and zero benefit of the doubt.

    I’m willing to take the chance. Ain’t my money.

  38. JJ Cooper of BA thinks we should go Fried, Wright, Anderson to space out the potential heavy bullpen days and I could see that.

  39. @46

    I could definitely see that. The only guy you have to have in a specific spot is Fried at Game 1. Outside of that, you can mix and match. I will say that I’d have a tough time not pitching Anderson in Game 2 if we lose Game 1.

  40. Truthfully, I think the question of Ozuna or Bauer cannot really be either/or. As has been stated, the starting place with Ozuna has to be if there is a DH or not in 2021. If no, then let him walk because he is not an everyday left fielder. If yes, I think we’d be foolish not to try and re-sign him unless he asks for the moon (which he may well do after this season.) And if we do not re-sign Ozuna, we still need to find someone that can hit for avg/power behind Freddie.

    Either way, I think we definitely need to sign/trade for a reputable ace type to pair with our young starters. That will cost money or prospects, be we got this far on smoke and mirrors after the staff was decimated. I’m proud of the young ones, but we cannot readily assume that there will not be bumps in their continued development. Whatever his personality, Bauer definitely fits that bill especially with his stated interest in only signing one year deals. If not him, then who?

    So, really the answer is both. We need both.

  41. If the Marlins score holds and the Padres win tonight, then all seven Central division playoff teams will have been eliminated and the first and second place teams in both Eastern and Western divisions in both leagues will face each other in the next round.

  42. #50
    Yeah, pretty weird…

    I was rooting for the Cards, but I tend to doubt they’d stand up to the Dodgers. Padres have real pitching problems now, but they can hit… a puncher’s chance, for sure.

  43. While I’d rather face the Marlins, I’d like to see this go 3 games. Plus I used to live in Chicago and don’t generally mind rooting for the Cubs.

  44. @52 but it’d be so much more satisfying as a Braves fan to beat the Marlins than the Cubs!

    (also, the Cubs are a better team than the Marlins, results of the Marlins-Cubs series notwithstanding)

  45. I just bought my “pod” tickets to sit in the outfield at Truist and watch Game 4 on the big screen. Yes, I think it will go at least 4.

  46. Nice work, Marlins.

    It’s been mentioned before, I’m sure, but the Marlins are the only team in MLB history with a playoff winning percentage of 1.000 — they’re now 7-0 in the post-season series (24-11 in games).

    But, of course, let’s make them 7-1. Some of us remember 1997 (and a particular umpire) all too well.

    Truth be told, we should beat this bunch.

  47. Their luck has to run out eventually. In 27 years, they have never won the division and yet have 2 world championships. It’s BS. And indeed, a certain umpire won’t be there. Question is, do they try to start Sanchez in game 1?

  48. Yup, the 2-title Marlins pretty much personify WC-era baseball, especially the period where each league only had 1 WC team.

    If I were them, I’d go Alcantara Game 1 on 5 days’ rest. I’d start Sixto Game 2 on regular rest.

    Don Mattingly on the Braves: “Obviously, they’re a handful. The last couple of years, they’ve really beat us up… We held our own this year, I thought, but I don’t wanna think about those guys just yet.”

  49. @43

    Dwight, you’re right.

    ‘seeking the bubble reputation, e’en in the canon’s mouth.’

    Be different these days and you instill some degree of wareyness/fear in about a third of the population.

  50. Explain the Braves-Marlins facing off in the NLDS at Minute Maid Park to someone at Christmas 2019…

  51. Cards are gone. Both central divisions have been exposed as mediocre.
    Braves have to be the clear favorites; please don’t choke against the fish.

  52. So all seven Central Division teams go down in the first round. Not only that, their collective record was an outstanding 2-14. Only St. Louis and the White Sox managed to win a game. A lot of that is crapshoot, but when your division contains the worst team in baseball, the Pirates, and another pretty bad team, the Tigers, it turns out that using aggregate record to pick playoff teams may be a little deceiving.

  53. Bob Gibson, RIP. Gibson died on the fifty-second anniversary of his 17-strikeout game in Game 1 of the 1968 World Series.

  54. A Bob Gibson Memory
    In mid-August 1975, when I was nearly 12-years old, I went with my mom & my sister up to Atlanta from Columbus for a weekend 5-game series against the Cardinals. It was the summer of “Jaws,” mood rings, and pet rocks – The Bee-Gees’ “Jive Talkin’” was the #1 hit in the country. We stayed at that Howard Johnson’s Hotel right next to Atlanta Fulton-County Stadium. Maybe a low-rent vacation, but I was thrilled.

    The Cards were OK (82 wins, they had Lou Brock & Ted Simmons, plus the Al Hrabosky show) & we were plenty bad (94 losses, we had Rowland Office, Rod Gilbreath & Jamie Easterling). But, for that weekend, I was most excited at the chance to see Bob Gibson pitch. A couple summers earlier, driving back from Chicago, the family decided to stop in St. Louis, where we caught 2 Cards/Giants games at Busch. But we missed Gibby’s turn by a day. (We saw Rick Wise & Rich Folkers instead.)

    I knew that Gibson had pitched for the Columbus Foxes, a Cardinals’ Sally League club in my hometown, so I felt some odd connection. Of course, I later found out how misplaced that notion was – his stint in Columbus was one of the most unpleasant experiences of his life. It was 1957, so you can easily imagine why…

    So… in the game I saw him pitch (in relief), he got bombed. (That always seemed to happen when I ventured to ATL to see the Braves face a legendary hurler like Jenkins, Carlton or Ryan.) Gibby was handed a one-run lead in the 7th & he held onto it until the 9th when he quickly loaded the bases, then gave up a walk-off 2-run single to the immortal Ed Goodson.

    I remember being kinda happy that the Braves won, but it felt weird. I knew all about Gibson’s triumphs & I knew that this was it for him – I’d never get to see him again & it would be one of his very last appearances.

    That was the Saturday night game & the next day the Cards blasted “Blue Moon” Odom (Macon native who won 3 rings with the Oakland A’s) & they got out of town winning 3 of the 5 games. But I’ll always remember thinking that I wish I could’ve seen the great version of Gibson…

    And years later, thanks to MLB Network, I even better understood what I missed. You can see those great World Series games vs. the Yanks, Red Sox & Tigers, where he’s mowing everyone down and, aside from a Curt Flood misplay in CF, he was damn-near unbeatable. (In the WS, he was 7-2 w/ a 1.89 ERA in 81 IP.)

    RIP Gibby, you were really something.

  55. Great stuff, ububba. I don’t think there was any pitcher as feared as Gibson in his prime. Not just because he was a great pitcher… He was genuinely feared.
    Hank Aaron: “Don’t dig in against Bob Gibson, he’ll knock you down. He’d knock down his own grandmother if she dared to challenge him. Don’t stare at him, don’t smile at him, don’t talk to him. He doesn’t like it. If you happen to hit a home run, don’t run too slow, don’t run too fast. If you happen to want to celebrate, get in the tunnel first. And if he hits you, don’t charge the mound, because he’s a Gold Glove boxer.”

  56. Great story, ububba. I don’t remember ever seeing Gibson pitch in person (and I think I’d remember!). But he still looms large in my earliest baseball memories, thanks to his outsize role in the World Series. As you know, he passed away on the anniversary of his 17 K game in the 68 Series.
    The first WS that I followed closely was 1964. The Yankees were in the Series for the 14th time in 16 years; if you think they dominate the media now you should have been around then. It seemed they were on the Saturday game of the week every week, and that was the only baseball I saw on TV.
    Gibson went 10 innings for the win in game 5, striking out 13. He then pitched game 7 on 2 days rest, going the distance for the win. That kind of feat is unimaginable today, but wouldn’t you love to think we could get by with Fried and Anderson getting almost all the postseason starts?
    As a 9 year old I had thought Ford, Mantle, and Maris were the greatest because they were the ones who dominated the media. Turns out that Gibson, Brock, and Flood were pretty good too. The Yankees quickly fell to the depths of the AL, finishing last in 1966, while the Cards were dominant in the NL for the next few years.

  57. That’s interesting, tfloyd, because I don’t remember seeing Gibson live either. I just looked it up: He started 15 games in Fulton County Stadium. Overall record: 7-5. There was only one game in Atlanta where Gibson pitched against Niekro: Gibson got roughed up early and the Braves had an easy 9-3 win before a “crowd” of 9,643. (I think some of the pandemic games had higher attendance than that.) That game in 1975 that ububba attended ( was his only relief appearance in Atlanta.

  58. It’s been over thirty years since I’ve looked at it but, I’d swear his rookie card said that he’d been a Harlem Globetrotter. That’s one talented dude.

  59. One forgotten “almost” trade is Puig. It is interesting that nothing has ben said about him since the first of the year and he got Covid. I for one would prefer him to Markakis right now, but not by a long shot. I guess the extra money and risks that he wouldn’t get back into baseball form just weren’t worth it.

  60. @66 – We stayed at that Howard Johnson’s, maybe around 1972. I would have been 8 then.

    There was an episode of Mad Men where Don was all wound up about staying at a Howard Johnson’s; his wife – not so much. I don’t know what they were going for in that episode, but I was picturing a young Dick Whitman thinking it was a really cool place.

  61. Gibson used to be a coach on Torre’s staff when he managed the Braves. I remember two things about him: 1.) he didn’t like Mahler or Niekro because they didn’t throw hard; 2.) when he was pitching batting practice, he would knock down anyone who hit a line drive up the middle.

  62. @72

    The numbers are undoubtedly eye-popping from Gibson at the height of his career. Thirteen of his 22 wins in 1968 coming via shutout is pretty incredible.

    I think I have a new favorite Gibson stat after reading that obit, though. MLB lowered the mound in the 1968-69 offseason. It was a move Gibson largely seems to serve as the historical face for, although it was not just him that caused MLB to decide to do that. Offensive numbers were way down all over both leagues. Anyway, I was not aware until I read that obit that Gibson actually struck out more batters in 1969, the year after the mound was lowered, than he had in his famous 1968 season.

  63. @75, one other thing about Gibson’s time with the Braves was that in late 1982 when the team was in a race for what wound up being its first division title in 13 years and relying on a shaky pitching staff, they seriously thought about activating Gibson as a reliever. Press reports said he could still throw hard for an inning or two, and I expect that opponents might have been intimidated by facing someone already in the Hall of Fame. The problem was that the Cardinals still held his rights and refused to allow him to sign with the Braves.

    The NYT obit mentions his autobiography, but as a kid (growing up in Columbus a year older than ububba) I had an earlier one, “by Bob Gibson as told to” or “by Bob Gibson with” a writer like Phil Pepe. Covered his life & career through 1967. I think it mentioned some of his Columbus experiences. I imagine the writer did most of the writing, but a lot of Gibson’s personality came through. The book discussed racial issues more than a lot of baseball books of the time.

  64. OK, this is pretty cool — a recently unearthed contemporary account of Babe Ruth’s called shot in the 1932 WS by none other than Lou Gehrig.

    What a voice! The Yankee Stadium farewell speech doesn’t do his accent justice — a lot more Cagney than Cooper, that’s for sure.

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