Remembering Bob Forsch
Bob Forsch, a tall right-handed pitcher who spent sixteen years in the major leagues, mostly with the St. Louis Cardinals, died suddenly this year on November 3rd at the age of 61. St. Louis Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. summed up the feelings for the entire Cardinals community at the time when he said “We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Bob Forsch. Bob was a one of the best pitchers in the history of our organization and a valued member of the Cardinals family.”
A winning ballplayer. The Cardinals made three World Series appearances in the 1980’s (1982, 1985 & 1987), and Forsch was on all three of them. “I was fortunate to have Bobby on my team,” said Whitey Herzog, his Manager on those teams. “He never missed a turn, pitched 200 innings each year. He’d take the ball, and he was a great competitor.”
For The Record. Forsch went 168-136, struck out 1,133 batters and compiled a 3.76 ERA. When he was on his game he dominated his opponents. Forsch is one of only 28 pitchers to have thrown multiple no-hitters. He threw two of them, both at Busch Stadium in front of his delighted home-town fans. His first was at the expense of the Philadelphia Phillies on April 16, 1978, and his second came against the Montreal Expos on April 26, 1983. Not surprisingly, he was accomplished with the bat, too, clubbing twelve home runs and hitting .213 for his career. He was no easy out, that’s for sure.
Firsthand. I saw Forsch pitch several times. He was a tough customer. I can recall seeing him pitch at Shea Stadium in the summer of 1983. It was the first game of a twilight double-header. I remember this one because I went with my Dad. I saw him pitch a few other times against the Giants at Candlestick Park, too.
Now Pitching In The Bottom Of The Ninth. Forsch’s passing came as a shock. The photo that appears below, taken just six days before he died, shows him throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 7 of this past year’s thrilling World Series. Fate runs in all directions. It is sorrowing in our day and age to see someone so real and so vital, with a wife and two daughters, die at what is now considered a relatively young age. But compassion reigns as well, for he was given one last chance to take the mound and hear the Cardinals fans cheer him on, this time for eternity. This is one of the ways I’ll remember him too, older but still handsome, appearing in good health, and smiling as he is about to release the pitch. Throw a strike, Bob Forsch. That’s something that you did exceedingly well.