THE NEBRASKA 100




No. 2


1. Bob Gibson

Baseball, Basketball / Omaha / Born: 1935

QUICK FACTS:


Played for: Omaha Tech High, Creighton Bluejays, Harlem Globetrotters and St. Louis Cardinals

Best athlete from Nebraska played with or against: Leon Chambers, Omaha Central. "He could flat out play -- baseball, basketball, football, you name it,'' Gibson said. "We always expected him to do some things, but it never did happen.''

Best moment as an athlete: The 1968 baseball season. "It wasn't any one thing,'' he said. "For that entire year, I felt, baseballwise, I could do whatever I wanted.''

Early sign of greatness: When Gibson was 14 or 15, his North Y Comets basketball team played against the Omaha University team in an open tournament. "We kicked them,'' Gibson said. "We almost ran them off the floor.''

For all that Bob Gibson accomplished athletically in baseball and basketball, his thirst to know how good a football player he might have become will never be quenched.

"I wanted to play football so badly,'' he said. "When I was young, I was a lot smaller kid than most of the guys I played with. But I did a good job against them.''

When he went to sign up for high school football at Omaha Tech, the coaches told him he was too small.

"I told them, 'We all play together all the time,'" Gibson said. "They said, 'When you get bigger, come see us.'"

While Gibson eventually grew to 6 feet 1 and 185 pounds, his brother and mentor, Josh, discouraged him from trying football. Both discussed how injury -- a close friend had suffered a broken neck playing football -- could curtail his baseball and basketball careers.

After a two-sport career at Creighton, Gibson played one season of basketball with the Harlem Globetrotters before signing a baseball contract for $4,000 with the St. Louis Cardinals. With St. Louis, he was known for his pitching (eight-time All-Star), fielding (nine-time Gold Glove winner) and hitting (he batted .303 in 1970 with 19 RBIs).

-- Lee Barfknecht


QUICK FACTS:


Played for: Omaha Tech High, Creighton Bluejays, Harlem Globetrotters and St. Louis Cardinals

Best athlete from Nebraska played with or against: Leon Chambers, Omaha Central. "He could flat out play -- baseball, basketball, football, you name it,'' Gibson said. "We always expected him to do some things, but it never did happen.''

Best moment as an athlete: The 1968 baseball season. "It wasn't any one thing,'' he said. "For that entire year, I felt, baseballwise, I could do whatever I wanted.''

Early sign of greatness: When Gibson was 14 or 15, his North Y Comets basketball team played against the Omaha University team in an open tournament. "We kicked them,'' Gibson said. "We almost ran them off the floor.''