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This is who fans said had the best season ever ...

5 reasons Gibson's 1968 campaign was unlike any other in MLB history
@paul_casella
April 6, 2020

After tallying all of the votes, the honor for the best individual Major League season goes to ... Bob Gibson's historic 1968 campaign. The Cardinals legend cruised his way through the pitching side of the bracket before defeating Babe Ruth in the final round of voting. Along with posting a

After tallying all of the votes, the honor for the best individual Major League season goes to ...

Bob Gibson's historic 1968 campaign.

The Cardinals legend cruised his way through the pitching side of the bracket before defeating Babe Ruth in the final round of voting. Along with posting a mind-blowing 1.12 ERA, Gibson registered complete games in 28 of his 34 starts in 1968, including 13 shutouts.

As a reminder, the bracket began with 32 of the most dominant single-season performances in the Live Ball Era (since 1920). The 32 entries -- 16 position players on one side of the bracket and 16 pitchers on the other -- were determined by a panel of MLB.com researchers and analysts, with one important caveat: Each player could appear on the bracket only once.

With Gibson being crowned the champion, here are five reasons that support his season being voted the best:

• Gibson had a 1.12 ERA -- what more really needs to be said? That's by far the best single-season ERA in the Live Ball Era, as no other pitcher has even posted a sub-1.50 ERA over the last 100 years. The best ERA by any pitcher since Gibson's historic season is Dwight Gooden's 1.53 ERA in '85 (Gibson defeated Gooden in the second round of this tournament).

• After putting up those ridiculous numbers during the regular season, Gibson somehow took his game to yet another level in Game 1 of the World Series. He racked up a World Series-record 17 strikeouts in a shutout against the Tigers. To this day, no other pitcher has registered more than 15 strikeouts in a World Series game.

Gibson went on to strike out another 10 batters while allowing just one run in a complete-game victory in Game 4, giving the Cardinals a 3-1 series lead. St. Louis, however, dropped three straight -- including Gibson's Game 7 start (four runs and eight strikeouts in another complete-game effort) -- to lose the series. Gibson's 35 strikeouts in the 1968 World Series remain the most by any pitcher in a single World Series in big league history.

• Gibson allowed one run or fewer in 11 consecutive complete games from June 6-July 30, the longest such streak in Major League history. Making Gibson's historic run all the more remarkable is the fact that eight of those 11 outings were shutouts. Overall, Gibson allowed just three runs over 99 innings in that 11-start span, good for a 0.27 ERA for the two-month stretch.

That incredible streak helped Gibson go a perfect 12-0 with a 0.50 ERA in 12 starts covering June and July. All 12 outings were complete games -- and eight of the 12 were shutouts.

• Gibson's 1.12 overall ERA is impressive enough, but the right-hander was even better on the road. He went 12-3 with a 0.81 ERA in 16 road starts, while tossing complete games in all but one of those 16 outings. No other pitcher in big league history with at least 10 road starts has ever finished with a sub-1.00 ERA away from home.

• Very few players had success against Gibson in 1968, and that includes some of the game's best hitters. Hall of Famer Hank Aaron went 1-for-15 (.067) against Gibson. The legendary Johnny Bench went hitless in six at-bats against Gibson. Pete Rose, who led the Majors with 210 hits and a .335 average in '68, went 0-for-8 versus Gibson. Ernie Banks was just 3-for-13 against Gibson and Willie Mays went 2-for-8 -- and the list goes on and on.

Bracket recap

Semifinal results

1) Ruth, 1923 (52%) def. 3) Lou Gehrig, 1927 (48%)
4) Gibson, 1968 (63%) def. 2) Sandy Koufax, 1965 (37%)

Third-round results

1) Ruth, 1923 (53%) def. 5) Ted Williams, 1941 (47%)
3) Gehrig, 1927 (54%) def. 2) Barry Bonds, 2001 (46%)

2) Koufax, 1965 (69%) def. 3) Randy Johnson, 2001 (31%)
4) Gibson, 1968 (60%) def. 1) Pedro Martínez, 2000 (40%)

Second-round results

1) Ruth, 1923 (86%) def. 8) Stan Musial, 1948 (14%)
2) Bonds, 2001 (58%) def. 10) Rogers Hornsby, 1924 (42%)
3) Gehrig, 1927 (81%) def. 11) Mike Trout, 2018 (19%)
5) Williams, 1941 (74%) def. 4) Mickey Mantle, 1956 (26%)

1) Martínez, 2000 (67%) def. 8) Greg Maddux, 1995 (33%)
2) Koufax, 1965 (58%) def. 10) Clayton Kershaw, 2014 (42%)
3) Johnson, 2001 (57%) def. 6) Tom Seaver, 1971 (43%)
4) Gibson, 1968 (77%) def. 5) Dwight Gooden, 1985 (23%)

First-round results

1) Ruth, 1923 (82%) def. 16) Ichiro Suzuki, 2004 (18%)
2) Bonds, 2001 (80%) def. 15) Mark McGwire, 1998 (20%)
3) Gehrig, 1927 (90%) def. 14) Bryce Harper, 2015 (10%)
4) Mantle, 1956 (82%) def. 13) Rickey Henderson, 1990 (18%)
5) Williams, 1941 (78%) def. 12) Joe DiMaggio, 1941 (22%)
11) Trout, 2018 (62%) def. 6) Carl Yastrzemski, 1967 (38%)
10) Hornsby, 1924 (59%) def. 7) Willie Mays, 1965 (41%)
8) Musial, 1948 (63%) def. 9) Albert Pujols, 2009 (37%)

1) Martínez, 2000 (84%) def. 16) Jake Arrieta, 2015 (16%)
2) Koufax, 1965 (83%) def. 15) Nolan Ryan, 1973 (17%)
3) Johnson, 2001 (67%) def. 14) Zack Greinke, 2015 (33%)
4) Gibson, 1968 (89%) def. 13) Ron Guidry, 1978 (11%)
5) Gooden, 1985 (75%) def. 12) Gerrit Cole, 2019 (25%)
6) Seaver, 1971 (53%) def. 11) Steve Carlton 1972 (47%)
10) Kershaw, 2014 (58%) def. 7) Jacob deGrom, 2018 (42%)
8) Maddux, 1995 (80%) def. 9) Roger Clemens, 1997 (20%)

Paul Casella is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella.