Bob Gibson vs Pete LaCock: An Unlikely Rivalry

If you’re a baseball fan you no doubt remember Bob Gibson the Hall of Fame pitcher. Unless you’re a die-hard fan like yours truly, you may not remember first baseman Pete LaCock. LaCock played for both the Chicago Cubs and Kansas City Royals over nine seasons (1972-80), was a mediocre player at best and most likely is best known for his father, Peter Marshall, who from 1966 through 1981 hosted the game show Hollywood Squares.

The left hander was a career .257 hitter with just 27 home runs but it should be noted that four were connected off future Hall of Famers Tom Seaver, Phil Niekro, Jim Palmer and yes – Bob Gibson. So here is the history on the interesting rivalry of a Hall of Famer vs a player just trying to stay on a major league roster. I had heard the story years ago but my good friend Don reminded me of it yesterday – thanks Big D!

LaCock faced Gibson for the first time in 1974 as a pinch hitter and promptly singled. No big deal right? But, one inning later LaCock was again at bat and Gibson brushed him back.

Five days later the two met again with LaCock this time in the starting lineup. In the 3rd, he doubled to right. It should be noted that no one owned Bob Gibson and right-hander could be pretty fiesty. Later in the game he would have his revenge when the flame thrower hit LaCock with a fastball.

Bob Gibson’s last appearance in the majors was on September 3, 1975 and of course it would come against LaCock and the Chicago Cubs. With the bases loaded, and his final game of an amazing career, LaCock hit a grand slam. After the game, Gibson was in the clubhouse and was over heard saying “When I gave up a grand slam to Pete LaCock, I knew it was time to quit.”

Fast forward eleven years, Gibson was playing in an old-timers game and Bob Feller was having trouble getting the ball over the plate. Gibson comes in to relief and guess who the batter was? Yep, Pete LaCock. And yes, Gibson drilled him with a fastball to the ribs.







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