On August 14, 1971, St. Louis Cardinals ace Bob Gibson throws the first no-hitter of his storied career. Gibson’s heroics helped his team sail to an 11-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Gibson overcame numerous childhood ailments—including rickets, asthma and a heart murmur—to earn a basketball scholarship to Creighton University after high school. His basketball skills were so impressive that in 1957 he spent a year playing for the Harlem Globetrotters, an exhibition team devoted to combining humor and basketball tricks, that was comprised of world-class players like Meadowlark Lemon and, for a time, Wilt Chamberlain. Despite the good pay, Gibson soon became frustrated with the team’s emphasis on comedic showmanship, and decided to switch sports. Prior to the 1958 season, Gibson signed as a pitcher with baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals, and after a year in the minors, was promoted to the major leagues. By 1962, he was one of the team’s most accomplished starters, and he soon established himself as one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball history.
Bob Gibson retired after the 1975 season. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981.