HOW LONG IT'S STOOD:
CLOSEST CALL SINCE:
1.53, by Dwight Gooden in 1985.
The heck with home runs. Here's a record that needs an asterisk. Gibson rolled up this record in the last season before (A) the lowering of the mound, (B) the shrinking of the strike zone, (C) the second wave of expansion and (D) division play.
We also shouldn't forget that he compiled that 1.12 ERA in a season when six other starters had ERAs below 2.00 and the average pitcher had an ERA under 3.00.
In fact, reports Pete Palmer, if you "normalize" ERAs by comparing them to the league average, Greg Maddux's 1994 season was better than Gibson's, and Pedro Martinez has had two seasons (1999 and 2000) that were better.
But there's still a place for pure numbers in this game. And Gibson has an aura that keeps this record on the exalted list.
Beyond that, it's incredible to contemplate a season in which a pitcher made 13 starts in which he allowed zero runs and 11 more in which he gave up one run. And then there's our final criterion, the number itself: 1.12.
If people can hear a raw number and know exactly what it refers to, it's not just another record. This one sure qualifies. So if anyone ever does make a run at it, we'd all pay attention -- even though, as Antonetti quips, "You'd have to keep your calculator out."
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