On May 12, 1969, At Busch Stadium, St. Louis Cardinals fireballer Bob Gibson becomes the seventh pitcher in National League history to strike out the side on nine pitches. In the 7th inning Gibson fans, Len Gabrielson, Paul Popovich and Pinch Hitter John Miller. Gibson (4-2) beats the Los Angeles Dodgers, 6-2.
Gibson also went 3-3, drove in 2 runs, and stole a base! In the 4th Claude Osteen intentionally walked Steve Huntz to face Gibson and Gibson delivered a 2 out, 2 run single. In the 8th he stole a base after he walked. Gibson said,”Anytime they play behind me, I am going to run,” the dodgers played off him because they were down 4 runs according to Ron Fairly. Gibson said, “I don’t believe in that stuff about being four runs ahead and you play nice. Four runs isn’t that much of a lead”
Gibson who improves to 4-2 gave up 7 hits and k’d 6 while tossing the complete game.
However, another event unfolded in the 6th inning. The Dodgers have Davis on first base with Gibby’s only walk. With one out, Bill Sudakis drops a pop-fly single into short center and Davis is off a-runnin’. So is Kibler, the second base umpire. He goes out into short center to testify as to whether Curt Flood catches the ball, If he ever gets to it. Curt didn’t, and second baseman Javier and shortstop Huntz couldn’t reach it either.
The ball drops and Kibler retraces his steps back to second, toward which Vargo the first base umpire, alertly is running a foot race with Sudakis. Flood picks up the ball and throws to second base, to which third baseman Mike Shannon has scampered — since Davis is safe already at third and Huntz and Javier are out in short center.
Shannon gets the ball and puts a tag on Sudakis. Vargo, to the right-field side of second, signals safe. Kibler to the left-field side of second, a split second later signals out. Walter Alston disputed the call but Kidler told him he has the call because he is in fact the second base umpire.
(Image from Post-Dispatch Photographer Lynn T. Spence)