Thursday, July 08, 2010

"I was trying to survive"

It's not fair to excerpt anything from Joe Posnanki's lyrical portrait of Bob Gibson -- you really should go read it, it rights the wrong of being absurdly painted as a one-dimensional character all these years -- but I will:

“This guy came up to me a little while ago,” Gibson says. “Did you hear him? He goes: ‘You were so mean when you pitched. You hit all these guys.’ Stuff like that. I mean, that’s all right, people can think what they want. They can have their own memories. But you know how many times I’ve heard that? And I was thinking: Who comes up to you and says something like that?

“I wasn’t mean. I don’t buy into any of it. I was just doing my job. You hear people talk about this glare that I had. You know, I’ve been wearing glasses for almost 60 years. I wasn’t glaring … I just couldn’t see the catcher’s signals. I was just trying to see. That’s all. But people turn everything into something else.”

He shakes his head. People turn everything in something else. He’s not angry, or anyway he does not sound angry. That voice. So friendly. He seems almost amused by it all — the reputation, the aura, the way people seem endlessly fascinated by the way he looked, the way he threw a baseball. It’s like there was this part he once played, when he was young, this part of a pitcher who scowled and raged and struck out hitters on high fastballs … and that part lives on, grows bigger every year.

Only he doesn’t play the part anymore.

The comments section includes an interesting "twist" to the story as well.

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