Cardinal Great Bob Forsch Passes
The news is still very young at this point, but Cardinal great Bob Forsch has apparently died of a heart attack at the age of 61.
You can read the official press release from the club, by clicking here to read a PDF file.
Forsch is best remember in St. Louis for his place in the pitching rotation through the successful “Whiteyball” years. A Cardinal from 1974 until an August trade in 1988 sent him to the Houston Astros for Denny Walling, Forsch was a staple in the starting rotation.
I-70’s resident historical writer, Bob Netherton, had some thoughts on Forsch:
I was saddened to hear the news of Bob Forsch’s passing. He was always a fan favorite, and for good reason. We know all about the two no-hitters, but the fact that he was the only player that Herzog kept from the 70s team to last through all three NL Pennants says far more about him as a player and person than those two magnificent games. Forsch was a mirror of the team he played for, never seeking the spotlight, probably wasn’t the best at his position, but he gave it everything he had each time he was called on. From the rotation, to the bullpen, back to the rotation – whatever the team needed, Forsch was there.
Forsch was a stingy pitcher who walked few but also did not strike out many. A pitch to contact hurler in a spacious Busch Stadium, Forsch was also a work horse that threw over 200 innings seven times in his 16 year career. He would also post double digit wins in all but five of his seasons on the mound, winning 20 games for the one and only time in 1977.
A steady pitcher that anchored many rotations, Forsch was never regarded as the ace of the staff. In fact, he led the league in one category one time in his career with a 1.4 walks per nine innings in 1980. He was also regarded as a very good hitter and would retain two Silver Slugger awards, 1980 and 1987, for his commitment at the plate.
More from Netherton:
My favorite Forsch moment came in Game Three of the 1987 National League Championship Series. The Cardinals were being bullied around by Will Clark and Jeffrey Leonard. Forsch came into the game and immediately took control but hitting Leonard with a pitch. It put a runner in scoring position, but Forsch never let that runner cross the plate. It started one of the greatest comebacks in Cardinals postseason history. What a competitor.
Forsch would throw two no hitters in his time with the Cardinals. His first would come on April 16, 1978 against the Philadelphia Phillies, the second on September 26, 1983 against the Montreal Expos. As impressive as it was for Forsch to throw two no hitters in his career, it was a game that he did not pitch that would etch his name into Major League Baseball’s record books. Almost one year to the day after Bob threw his first no hitter, his brother Ken would throw a no hitter for the Houston Astros on April 7, 1979 against the Atlanta Braves. They are the only brothers to every throw no hitters in Major League Baseball history.
Most recently, Forsch has been serving as the pitching coach for the Rookie League affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, the Billings Mustangs.
Netherton’s final thought: Bob Forsch was one of my favorite players, and he will be missed.
Bob Forsch’s career statistics:
|1970||20||STL-min||2||3||.400||4.94||8||5||31.0||38||26||17||19||1.839||11.0||5.5||LEW,CDR · NORW,MIDW|
|1971||21||STL-min||11||7||.611||3.13||23||23||158.0||140||74||55||41||134||1.146||8.0||2.3||7.6||3.27||CDR · MIDW|
|1972||22||STL-min||8||10||.444||4.35||24||24||7||2||153.0||158||85||74||47||109||1.340||9.3||2.8||6.4||2.32||ARK · TL|
|1973||23||STL-min||12||12||.500||4.39||27||27||166.0||169||91||81||66||1.416||9.2||3.6||TUL · AA|
|1974||24||STL-min||8||5||.615||3.67||15||14||7||0||103.0||95||49||42||33||71||1.243||8.3||2.9||6.2||2.15||TUL · AA|
|162 Game Avg.||12||10||.553||3.76||37||31||1||5||1||207||205||97||86||61||84||98||1.291||8.9||2.7||3.6||1.36|
|STL (15 yrs)||163||127||.562||3.67||455||401||14||67||19||2658.2||2602||1229||1085||780||1079||101||1.272||8.8||2.6||3.7||1.38|
|HOU (2 yrs)||5||9||.357||5.56||43||21||5||0||0||136.0||175||90||84||52||54||61||1.669||11.6||3.4||3.6||1.04|
Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
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Editor’s Note: I feel compelled to include a few Tweets from around Cardinal Nation this morning: