Bob Gibson, all-star Creighton dual-sport athlete and baseball Hall of Famer, died Oct. 2 after a nearly year-and-a-half-long battle with pancreatic cancer.
An Omaha native, Gibson was a hometown hero who participated in baseball, track and basketball at Omaha Technical High School before moving on to Creighton, from which he graduated in 1957.
In addition to completing careers in baseball and basketball for the Jays, Gibson added to his resume as an occasional track runner his senior year, according to a 1957 Creightonian sports column.
Currently 22nd on the men’s basketball all-time scoring list with 1,272 career points and top-five in school history in free throws, Gibson was also the leading scorer his junior and senior seasons.
After a strong, three-year career, Gibson’s No. 45 jersey was eventually retired by the men’s basketball program.
“I’ve experienced so many great things as the coach of Creighton. Without a doubt, one of the highlights was meeting Bob Gibson,” men’s basketball coach Greg McDermott shared in a tweet. ”He was one of the great competitors in the history of sports. Rest In Peace my friend.....”
Outside of Creighton, Gibson was best known for his success at the mound.
After ending his four-year career with a .325 batting average, Gibson signed with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he would spend his 17-year MLB career.
That was only after a brief stint with the Harlem Globetrotters following graduation.
“Playing with the Globetrotters was just a winter job,” Gibson said in a 1979 Creightonian article. “I played one season and wanted to play another, but Bing Devine, the Cardinals’ general manager, asked me not to.”
Gibson won the 1964 and 1967 World Series with the Cardinals and was the MVP in both. He was also the recipient of two Cy Young awards for the league’s best pitcher and received nine Gold Gloves.
Gibson wrapped up his career in 1975 and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981. Across the world of sports, he is still remembered as an intimidating and strong competitor.
“This is a very sad day for all of baseball. Bob Gibson produced one of the most decorated pitching careers in history with his intelligence, athleticism, durability and toughness,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.
Following his career, he was a coach and a broadcaster, broadcasting for ABC’s Monday Night Baseball for two years and occasionally telecasting basketball.
But he returned home to Omaha, where he opened his sports bar, Bob Gibson’s, near Creighton’s campus in the 1970s.
Gibson died at the age of 84, leaving behind a memorable legacy and proud hometown.