Prior to yesterday’s National League Division Series game in St. Louis, former Cardinals catcher and long-time TV analyst TIm McCarver threw out the first ball, with former St. Louis pitching great and Hall-of-Famer Bob Gibson serving as his catcher. In 1964, fifty years ago, the Cardinals won the World Series over the yankees, behind the pitching of Gibson, Ray Sadecki, and Curt Simmons. The three won 19, 20 and 18 games, respectively, and they started 102 of the teams 162 games, completing 36 of them. This season, you needed to add the complete game totals of the NL’s top 12 leaders in complete games to get to 36. Gibson alone went on to complete 20 or more games in seven of his next eight seasons, twice reaching a high of 28 in a season. In those days, as I have written about many times, starting pitchers were in four-man rotations pitching every fourth day, and they were still supposed to complete their starts. Top starters like Gibson would pitch 280 to 320 innings each season, and they went on, year after year, doing so. Gibson pitched until he was 39, threw 3,884 innings over his career, making 482 starts and completing 255 of them. He averaged 17 complete games per season.
Clayton Kershaw has now started 209 regular season games in his career, and has competed 17 of them, total. Continue reading