Editor’s Note: The Sentinel sports staff is putting together a summer series looking at the legacies of the most influential African-American athletes in history. Today: Bob Gibson.
There has never been a glare as menacing as Bob Gibson’s on the mount.
A glare can mean a lot of things. For Gibson, it just meant one thing: I am going to beat you.
The St. Louis Cardinals pitcher had a ferocity that few had brought to the mound before him — and few have since.
Standing 6 feet, 2 inches, when he wound up and released a pitch, his entire body swung around with his unusual follow through. It looked like his body exploded toward the batter at the last second.
The motion itself was jolting, but accompanied by the scowl, Gibson was simply feared by hitters.
But more importantly, he was respected.
“Failure was not an option,” said Gibson, the first Black superstar pitcher in the majors.
Gibson joined the Cardinals a dozen years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, but there were very few black pitchers to thrive in the majors after integration.
He was going to pitch in side and intimidate on the mound. He was baseball’s greatest intimidator.
He never shook hands or…