It was one of the greatest pitching performances in World Series history and it happened 45 years ago today as Bob Gibson of the St. Louis Cardinals struck out 17 Detroit Tiger batters in Game One of the World Series in St. Louis.

Doug Benc, Getty Images
Doug Benc, Getty Images

That 17 strikeout performance marked the third time in 15 years that a new Fall Classic strikeout record was set on October 2. Since that game, won by the Cardinals by a score of 4 to 0, no pitcher has struck out more than 11 batters in game one.

The game in 1968 was billed as a matchup between baseball’s two best pitchers, Gibson and Denny McClain. Gibson, who would go on to win the National League Cy Young Award and Most Valuable Player Awards, was 22-9 in 1968 with a microscopic 1.12 earned-run average.

The Tigers countered with Denny McClain who was the first 30-game winner since Dizzy Dean in 1934. McLain would win the American League’s Cy Young and MVP awards. In winning the game, the Cardinals managed only 6 hits with current Cardinal broadcaster Mike Shannon getting two of them.

After the game, Gibson's batterymate Tim McCarver had the line of the day saying “Bob Gibson is the luckiest pitcher I ever saw. He always pitches when the other team doesn’t score any runs.”

It all happened 45 years ago today thanks to #45 Bob Gibson.

Bob Gibson was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1981.

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