October 12, 1967: Bob Gibson pitches Cardinals past the ‘Impossible Dream’ Red Sox in Game 7

The Boston Red Sox and their fans weren’t afraid to give the Cardinals a little extra motivation heading into Game 7 of the 1967 World Series.

Knowing that Game 7 would match Cardinals ace Bob Gibson against Red Sox ace Jim Lonborg, Boston first baseman George Scott predicted that Gibson wouldn’t “survive five” innings.[1] Earlier in the series, the Red Sox had offered the Boston press other indications that they didn’t think much of their National League foes.

“What did they say?” Cardinals catcher Tim McCarver asked. “Well, (Boston manager Dick Williams) said Bob Gibson was the only pitcher on our club. And over his column yesterday, the paper had the headline: ‘Lonborg and Champagne.’ That was supposed to be Williams’ pitching ‘rotation.’ And (Carl Yastrzemski) was saying, ‘We’ll win it in six,’ and ‘I’ll hit the fence.’”[2]

Heading into Game 7, Boston’s hospitality industry seemed to annoy Gibson more than the Red Sox did. It didn’t help that the team hotel’s air conditioning hadn’t been turned on during the Cardinals’ stay.[3] When Gibson, McCarver, Dal Maxvill, and their wives went downstairs for breakfast, everyone received their food except for Gibson. After 45 minutes and several complaints, Gibson finally received a piece of burnt toast. When Gibson asked the waitress to take it away, she replied, “We’ll take you away.”[4]

With no breakfast coming, Gibson was forced to get on the team bus with an empty stomach. When St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports editor Bob Broeg learned of Gibson’s situation, he hopped off the bus at a red light and caught a cab to a local diner, where he purchased two ham-and-cheese sandwiches. He then brought them to the clubhouse, where Gibson ate one and saved the other for later.[5]

Gibson had been dominant through his first two appearances in the series, striking out 10 batters while allowing just one run in a 2-1 victory in Game 1. In Game 4, Gibson threw a complete-game shutout, allowing just five Boston hits while striking out six.

The Red Sox, however, won the fifth game 3-1, then returned home to Fenway Park to pick up an 8-4 win in Game 6. That forced the decisive seventh game and the match-up between Lonborg, who had won Games 2 and 5, against Gibson.

The Cardinals struck first in the top of the third when Maxvill led off with a triple to center field.

“I was just hoping it was going to go over (Red Sox center fielder Reggie Smith’s) head,” Maxvill said. “When I saw it hit the wall, I was on my way to second base and I told myself, ‘We better get to running.’”[6]

Lonborg appeared primed to escape the jam unscathed when he got Gibson to line out to third base and Lou Brock flied out to shortstop. With two outs, however, Curt Flood singled up the middle to score Maxvill. Roger Maris’s second single of the game advanced Flood to third base, and when Lonborg threw a wild pitch that got past catcher Elston Howard, Flood scampered home to give St. Louis a 2-0 lead.

The Cardinals used a mix of power and speed to add two more runs in the fifth inning. With one out, Gibson helped his own cause when he homered for his first hit of the series. Lou Brock followed with a single to left field, then stole second and third before Maris lofted a sacrifice fly to right field to extend the Cardinals’ lead to 4-0.

Brock’s two stolen bases gave him six for the World Series. When he added another in the ninth, it broke the old record set 58 years earlier. His eight runs scored in the series tied the record held by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.[7]

“The only thing he might go back to Boston for is some of those wonderful lobsters,” Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst said. “He’s stolen everything else in Boston.”[8]

The Red Sox got on the scoreboard in their next at-bat when Scott led off with a triple and scored on a throwing error by Julian Javier, who attempted to catch Scott at third base.

“Scott hit a pretty good pitch, I thought,” Gibson said. “It was down and away. When he hit it, though, I thought it was gone.”[9]

The Cardinals answered with three runs in the top of the sixth. McCarver led off the inning with a double to right field before Mike Shannon smashed a hard-hit ground ball that glanced off Red Sox third baseman Joe Foy. With runners on first and second, Javier broke the game open with a three-run homer over the left-field wall.

With a 7-1 lead, the rest of the game belonged to Gibson. He worked around a leadoff walk to Yastrzemski in the seventh before the Red Sox scored their second run of the game on a ground ball in the eighth.

Yastrzemski led off the ninth inning with a single to right field, but he was erased from the base paths when Ken Harrelson hit into a 6-4-3 double play. When Scott, who had predicted that Gibson wouldn’t last five innings, struck out to end the game, the Cardinals were World Series champions for the eighth time in franchise history.

The top three hitters in the Cardinals’ lineup each reached base three times, as Brock singled, doubled, and walked; Flood singled and walked twice; and Maris singled twice and walked. Javier’s three-run home run was one of two hits for the second baseman on the day.

Maris’s seven RBIs for the series set a new record for the Cardinals, topping the previous franchise high of six that had been set by Les Bell in 1926, Jack Rothrock in 1934, Harry Walker in 1946, and Ken Boyer in 1964.[10] As his teammates doused one another in champagne after the win, Maris sipped from a can of beer and watched the others celebrate.

“I’m not a champagne guy,” he explained. “Sure, I’m happy, but my thrill is just watching these other guys be happy. That’s my thrill. I’m all tied up inside, but I don’t show emotion. I’ve always been that way.”[11]

Gibson’s win was his third of the series, making him just the seventh pitcher in major-league history to go 3-0 in a World Series.[12] Pitching on three days’ rest, he held the Red Sox to just three hits and three walks while striking out 10.

For the series, he allowed just three earned runs over 27 innings for a 1.00 ERA while striking out 26. With just 14 hits allowed over that span, he tied Christy Mathewson for the lowest hit total in three successive World Series games, matching a mark that was set 62 years earlier in 1905.[13]

“Too much Gibson and Brock,” Williams said to explain Boston’s defeat.[14]

Incredibly, less than three months earlier, Gibson’s leg had been broken by a line drive off the bat of Roberto Clemente.

“That’s really something, winning three World Series games with a broken leg,” Flood said. “Don’t let anyone kid you. The leg is still bothering Gibby. He had to take some medicine several times each game to kill the pain. It’s some kind of big-league aspirin.”[15]

After the game, the first reporter in the clubhouse asked Gibson how his arm felt.

“I wish I could take it off and hang it up somewhere,” Gibson replied.[16]

“Listen, Gibson’s got some kind of vicious desire, hasn’t he?” McCarver said. “Tenacious. That’s what he is. Tenacious. He pitches on guts. You can see it. He challenges anybody. Hell, he’d challenge Michael the Archangel if he had to.”[17]

Pitching on two days’ rest, Lonborg took the loss after allowing six earned runs on 10 hits and a walk. He lasted six innings before four Red Sox relievers combined to throw the final three innings.

“Lonborg is eating ice cream now,” Brock said. “The only way Lonborg gets champagne is to order it himself.”[18]

“The Red Sox spent half their time popping off,” Flood said. “They would have spent that time better by taking extra batting practice. Now it’s our turn to pop off.”[19]


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[1] Ed Wilks, “Red Sox Columnists ‘Woke Up’ Cards,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 13, 1967.

[2] Ed Wilks, “Red Sox Columnists ‘Woke Up’ Cards,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 13, 1967.

[3] Bob Gibson and Lonnie Wheeler (1994), “Stranger to the Game,” New York; Penguin Books USA, 146.

[4] Bob Gibson and Lonnie Wheeler (1994), “Stranger to the Game,” New York; Penguin Books USA, 146.

[5] Bob Gibson and Lonnie Wheeler (1994), “Stranger to the Game,” New York; Penguin Books USA, 146.

[6] Ed Wilks, “Red Sox Columnists ‘Woke Up’ Cards,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 13, 1967.

[7] Neal Russo, “Gibson and Brock: 2 for the Whole Show,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 13, 1967.

[8] Neal Russo, “Gibson and Brock: 2 for the Whole Show,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 13, 1967.

[9] Ed Wilks, “Tim Hails ‘Vicious Desire’ by Hoot,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 13, 1967.

[10] Neal Russo, “7th Theft Puts Lou in Book,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 13, 1967.

[11] Neal Russo, “7th Theft Puts Lou in Book,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 13, 1967.

[12] Neal Russo, “Gibson and Brock: 2 for the Whole Show,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 13, 1967.

[13] Neal Russo, “Gibson and Brock: 2 for the Whole Show,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 13, 1967.

[14] Neal Russo, “Gibson and Brock: 2 for the Whole Show,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 13, 1967.

[15] Neal Russo, “Gibson and Brock: 2 for the Whole Show,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 13, 1967.

[16] Ed Wilks, “Tim Hails ‘Vicious Desire’ by Hoot,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 13, 1967.

[17] Ed Wilks, “Tim Hails ‘Vicious Desire’ by Hoot,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 13, 1967.

[18] Neal Russo, “Gibson and Brock: 2 for the Whole Show,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 13, 1967.

[19] Neal Russo, “Gibson and Brock: 2 for the Whole Show,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 13, 1967.

1 thought on “October 12, 1967: Bob Gibson pitches Cardinals past the ‘Impossible Dream’ Red Sox in Game 7”

  1. Pingback: July 15, 1967: Bob Gibson faces three Pirates with a broken leg | STLRedbirds.com

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