This year the Cardinals seem almost to perform under a hex when Gibson is not pitching. On one occasion a two-run lead, nursed into the eighth inning, was turned over to the bullpen and handled thereafter with the tender care of a grizzly bear walking on a buttercup. One problem, not of Gibson's making, was that the Cardinals, seeking to change their image, went for a club that would score runs. Players came and players left and at times knowing baseball people wonder if General Manager Bing De-vine was not also moonlighting as a purser for the Bolivian Navy, but in 1970 the team was considered to have the potential to contend and possibly even win That was before July—when St. Louis won only eight games.
By the end of last week the Cards still had nine games left with Chicago and Pittsburgh—and Gibson continued to pitch with hope. Almost everybody else waited for yet another large truck to back up to the Cardinal clubhouse and change the cast of players once more—to the kind who can win like Gibson.