Fortunately for Red Sox sluggers, Gibson won't have ball this time

Cards ace won 3 games against Boston in 1967


October 23, 2004|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Maybe the Curse of the Bambino really has been exorcised. If not, Bob Gibson would be transformed to his youth, start three games of this year's World Series and add to his legacy.

Gibson is still retired, long past his prime, so the St. Louis Cardinals must rely on their current staff to conquer the Boston Red Sox again in a rematch of the 1967 Series.

His career moving toward its inevitable stop at baseball's Hall of Fame, Gibson won games 1, 4 and 7 in dominating fashion. He went the distance each time, allowing only three runs in 27 innings and striking out 26.

Nelson Briles had the other Cardinals victory, a 5-2 triumph in Game 3, which included Mike Shannon's two-run homer.

Gibson and Boston's Jim Lonborg were each 2-0 as the Series moved to a seventh game. Lonborg allowed one run in his first 18 innings of the Series, but he was pitching on only two days' rest with a championship in the balance.

The duel proved to be one-sided. Gibson limited the Red Sox to three hits, struck out 10 and homered off Lonborg in a 7-2 win in Boston.

Roger Maris, who had set the single-season home run record six years earlier with the New York Yankees, drove in both runs for the Cardinals in their 2-1 victory in the opener at Fenway Park.

But Lonborg allowed only one hit in Game 2, a double by Julian Javier in the eighth, and Carl Yastrzemski homered twice in a 5-0 win.

The Cardinals took a 3-1 Series lead with two straight victories at Busch Memorial Stadium. Maris and Tim McCarver each knocked in two runs in Game 4, and Boston managed only five hits off Gibson.

Lonborg kept the Red Sox alive with a 3-1 win in Game 5. He took a two-hit shutout into the ninth before Maris homered with two outs.

Still needing another win to clinch, the Cardinals led 2-1 in Game 6 before the Red Sox hit a Series-record three homers off Dick Hughes in the fourth. Yastrzemski, who batted .400 after winning the Triple Crown during the regular season, rookie Reggie Smith and Rico Petrocelli each went deep, and although Lou Brock later tied the score with a two-run shot in the seventh, Boston pulled away for an 8-4 victory.

Javier hit a three-run homer off Lonborg in Game 7, and the Red Sox still were left without a world championship since 1918.

Gibson, who missed two months of the season with a broken leg, became the fifth pitcher to win three times in a seven-game Series - Detroit's Mickey Lolich did it the next year against St. Louis - and was named Most Valuable Player by Sport magazine. Brock, who batted .414 and scored eight runs, won the Babe Ruth MVP Award.

The Red Sox had gone from ninth place to first and clinched the pennant on the final day, but the curse continued. One man made sure it stayed alive - one man who can't do anything about it this time.

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