Home Baseball The Cooperstown case for Bob Forsch

The Cooperstown case for Bob Forsch


He’s the only pitcher in Cardinals history to throw two no-hitters, and he was a 20-game winner in 1977.

Hi, and welcome to another edition of “The Cooperstown case”.

Today, we will be looking at the case for the late Bob Forsch, a top pitcher and key component of Cardinals baseball during the 1970’s and 1980’s. We’ll look deep into his career and see if he’s worthy for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Drafted in the 26th round of the 1968 MLB Draft by St. Louis, Forsch made Major League Baseball debut on July 7th, 1974 for the Cardinals. In his career, he famously threw no-hitters in 1978 (Philadelphia Phillies) and in 1983 (Montreal Expos). His older brother, Ken Forsch, also threw a no-hitter for the Houston Astros in 1979. They are the only brothers in MLB history to throw a no-hitter.

According to STATS LLC, Forsch is one of only 30 pitchers in the history of baseball to throw two no-hitters.

His best season came in 1977, where he finished with a record of 20-7 and an ERA of 3.48. The Cardinals, who finished the season with a record of 83-79 and in third place, still had a team loaded of talent, and Forsch was one of them. He threw eight complete games that year, and two shut-outs.

Two years prior, he had won 15 games, a feat he achieved once again in 1982, the only season in which he helped the St. Louis Cardinals win the World Series over the Milwaukee Brewers.

During his first postseason appearance, during the 1982 NLCS, Forsch pitched a shutout against the Braves, allowing three hits and no walks while striking out six batters on 104 pitches. A three-game winner in the postseason in his career, Forsch was one of the driving forces on the mound for the Cardinals that season, finishing 15-9 with an ERA of 3.48, much like in 1977.

In his 15-year career with the Cardinals, Forsch finished with a record of 163-132 (the third most wins in Cardinals history), an ERA of 3.76, throwing 67 complete games to go along with 19 shutouts. However, Forsch was traded in the middle of the 1988 season to the Houston Astros. And he pitched poorly with them, going 1-4 with a 6.51 ERA.

But in addition to his pitching prowess, Forsch was also a force to be reckoned with at the plate. He hit 12 career home runs (second to Bob Gibson‘s 24 home runs in Cardinals history), and won the first ever NL Silver Slugger Award for pitchers in 1980.

Former Cardinal Willie McGee talked about his beloved teammate who was a hard-nosed competitor with an old-school mentality.

“He was probably the best competitor I played with,” McGee said. “You go out there and you show him up or you disrespect the game, you’re gonna get one planted. And that incident with Jeffrey Leonard in the playoffs, Bobby Forsch told you just who he was.”

The incident McGee referred to came in the 1987 NLCS. Leonard had hit three-home runs during the series, and after hitting one in what turned out to be the final game in the series, Forsch plunked him square in the head in the fifth inning.

St. Louis rallied that game to win 6-5 and advanced to the 1987 World Series.

Back in 2011, Forsch threw out the first pitch in Game 7 of the World Series between the Cardinals and Rangers.

Sadly, less than a week later, he passed away of an aneurysm at the age of 61. In 2015, he was announced as a member of the Cardinals Hall of Fame.

Maybe one day, Forsch will receive consideration for Cooperstown. Then again, maybe not. As stated with Ken Boyer, Ted Simmons, and Jack Clark… only time will tell.

Be sure to check back next week, as we look at the case for yet another player…

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