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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gibson scoffs at rest 'issue'

Tuesday, Nov. 03 2009
PHILADELPHIA — One of the biggest issues raised during the World Series this
year has been the philosophy of employing starting pitchers on three days'
rest, which, in today's game, basically has gone the way of the dinosaur.

While the New York Yankees have had the baseball world abuzz by using CC
Sabathia and A.J. Burnett on three days' rest — with the potential of asking
Andy Pettitte to do the same and Sabathia to do it again — the Philadelphia
Phillies and manager Charlie Manuel have taken the more cautious approach.
Manuel wouldn't let Cliff Lee, who started Monday night's Game 5 for the
Phillies, talk him into pitching Sunday on three days' rest. The Phillies lost
to fall into a 3-1 hole.

The greatest starting pitcher in World Series history, Cardinals Hall of Famer
Bob Gibson, wondered from his home in Omaha, Neb., what all the fuss was

"What's the big deal?" Gibson said Monday night. "I don't get it. I don't think
it's going to kill somebody.

"A pitcher can't pitch with three days' rest? Some of those guys make $8
million a week."

Gibson made nine starts in three World Series, winning seven of them and
pitching exactly 81 innings — 10 innings in one game, eight in another and
twirling complete games in the other seven.

Burnett didn't fare as well for the Yankees on Monday night. He was pulled in
the third inning after the first four batters reached base and was charged with
six earned runs in his start.

In the Cardinals' 1967 World Series victory over the Boston Red Sox, Gibson won
three games, starting Games 4 and 7 on three days' rest after opening the

In 1968, Gibson again pitched Games, 1, 4 and 7 with the latter two on three
days' rest as the Cardinals lost to the Detroit Tigers.

Earlier, in 1964, Gibson stretched his arm to the limit as the Cardinals
strained to win the National League pennant. On the last Friday of the season,
he worked eight innings in a 1-0 loss to Al Jackson and the New York Mets. He
then pitched four innings of relief on the last Sunday, gaining the win as the
Cardinals finally nailed down the flag, and three days later started Game 2 of
the World Series and worked eight innings in a win against the New York

On three days' rest, Gibson pitched a 10-inning win in Game 5 and then, on two
days' rest, pitched a complete-game victory in Game 7.

Even Gibson admitted, though, that five games in 17 days was a bit much.

"I didn't feel really dynamite after that," he said.

But, under normal circumstances, he doesn't see any problem with starters
working with three days' rest in postseason play.

"I don't imagine you'd want to do that all year," Gibson said. "But for
playoffs and World Series ... if you can't do it then, when the hell can you do
it? I don't quite get it.

"I just think they make a little too much about it. I don't know who it is — if
it's the media or what."

While Manuel discussed the rest matter with Lee, Gibson said he never had any
such conversations with managers Johnny Keane and Red Schoendienst.

"Nobody ever sat down with me and said, 'Would it be OK if I pitch with three
days' rest?' I told them, 'I'm going to pitch every fourth day.'

"I would have been disappointed if I hadn't."


Johnny Damon's two steals at once for the Yankees on Sunday night was nothing
compared to what the Cardinals' Vince Coleman and Willie McGee pulled off in
the first inning Aug. 1, 1985, at Wrigley Field.

With Coleman at second and McGee at first, the two lit out on a double steal
with Scott Sanderson pitching. Coleman beat catcher Jody Davis' throw to third
but overslid the bag after touching it. Since third baseman Ron Cey had the
ball in his hand, Coleman decided going back to third had no virtue and set
sail for home.

A rundown ensued, with McGee trailing the play. Sanderson and Davis ultimately
got themselves out of position and Cey, nicknamed the Penguin, ended up
futilely chasing Coleman to a now unoccupied home plate. McGee wound up at

"I knew I couldn't get back to the bag," Coleman said then. "I was still in
no-man's land. So my reaction was to go to the next base."

After conferring by phone with Seymour Siwoff of the Elias Sports Bureau,
official scorer Randy Minkoff awarded each runner two steals.


Larry Bowa, a Los Angeles Dodgers coach who used to play for and manage the
Phillies, wondered on ESPN radio Monday if the Phillies were stealing signs at
Citizens Bank Park, prompting an unusual number of conferences involving
Yankees catcher Jorge Posada and Sabathia on Sunday.

"There are rumors going around," said Bowa on radio, "that when you play the
Phillies, there's a camera somewhere or bullpen people are giving signs, and
catchers are constantly changing signs."

Bowa concluded, "Any edge you can get, you take advantage of it."

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