Having Fun with Pete LaCock

pete lacock.jpgA few days ago I was at a Christmas party thrown by a client of my employer, and just like at any other social event, I tried to curb my baseball talk as much as I could because, well, not everyone is as enthusiastic about baseball as I.  Some people even think I’m a weirdo.


But then I got to talking to a high school kid — a kid who has drawn attention in the Chicago area for perhaps having what it takes to someday get to the big leagues — and before long we were discussing the finer points of pitching.  Like the Cardinalphile that I am, I had no choice but to reference the gutsiness of one Bob Gibson.

“Who?” the kid asked.

It took a lot out of me to not deck this kid in the face for not knowing who Bob Gibson was, but I took a deep breath and decided to educate him on the Hall of Famer the best I could: by telling a story.

“By 1975, Gibson had already lost much of what made him the baddest, scariest, most dominating pitcher in the National League, but he still had guts.  Still had pride. 

“The last batter he ever faced in the big leagues was a pinch hitter by the name of Pete LaCock.  The Cardinals were playing the Cubs and LaCock came in with the bases loaded.

“LaCock hit a grand slam.

“Years later, in an old timer game, Gibson is on the mound and guess who comes to the plate to face him.  Yep.  Good ‘ol Pete LaCock.

“Gibson drilled him in the back.”

I finished my story and looked at the kid, waiting to see what kind of reaction I’d get, knowing that I had just hit a homerun in conveying what kind of bad^ss Gibson really was.

But the kid was laughing — a snicker at first, then a chuckle, then an all out cackle.

“What?” I asked.  “What’s so funny?”

“Dude,” said the kid, “That guy’s name was LaCock?!  LaCock!  Hahaha!  LaCOCK!”

Gotta admit: I snorted a little when I joined in the laughter. 

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.




  1. xcicix

    The expression on his face makes him kinda look like that guy on a yacht with 4 girls in white bikinis around him in that kinda stoned, really sleazy way. Is his name just a coincidence?

  2. ez_mac71

    What was the kid’s name, Beavis or Butthead? I was only 3 for most of ’75 so I don’t remember Gibson playing but I have read the stories and he is bad to the bone. That is hilarious…plunking a guy in some old timer game because of a homer earlier in their careers.

  3. redstatebluestate

    Cici — Actually, I heard he changed his name from something else to “LaCock”. Don’t know where I heard that but I did somewhere.
    Greg — He won’t. I made sure of it.
    Jane — It was funny in the end. He learned something and I got a laugh out of it. Ha!
    Ez_Mac — I wasn’t even alive in 1975, but I grew up around the Gibson lore of my forefathers. I love that story. One of my favorite baseball legends (that is also true) ever.

  4. Michael David

    I so wonder what the schools are teaching kids these days. I ‘home school’ my kids on baseball history, so they’ll be ahead of there classmates. It makes me want to become a teacher.
    “OK, class. Today we start learning about the ‘Dead Ball Era’. Turn to page 94.”

  5. redstatebluestate

    Mike — I think that’s a great idea. If I ever have kids, I will definitely consider that course.
    Prince — Hard not to laugh. I know it 😉

  6. fryingpan

    Way to enlighten the kid, Jeff. I never knew this story about Gibson, but I’ll be sure to remember it next time I’m faced with listing the most bada– major league pitchers. You better believe Gibson will be on there.
    Nice blogging!


  7. redstatebluestate

    AL — Gibby is a paragon of guts. He’d knock ya down still today if you crowd the plate!
    Austin — I guess I found it funny at one time, but I’ve been hearing that story for 25 years now, so it has sorta worn off, y’know? But you are right. As am I. Great feelin’, eh?

  8. raysrenegade

    Bob Gibson was a badass down here in St. Petersburg when the Cardinals used the city as their Spring Training home.
    At that point in our countries history, this town was a little backwards still in the equality issues and most hotels only catered to certain types of people. Well, Gibson fought with hotel owners and restaurant staffs wanting to stay or eat with his teammates.
    I admire the man that Gibson was not only as an athlete, but as a guy who tried to change the perception of nearsighted people in an everchanging world.
    BTW, we had a guy named Faison Butz that lived in our town….You can say he was the butt of a few jokes in my youth.

    Rays Renegade


  9. redstatebluestate

    RR — You’re right about Gibby as a fighter for equal rights. Good call. As for Faison Butz… I’d rather be named LaCock than Butz.

  10. lonerangertx2004


    His dad (Pete’s, that is) was Peter Marshall, he of the Hollywood Squares. And “Marshall” was a stage name…his real last name was LaCock. So Pete should really be Peter LaCock, Jr.

    Junior…Senior…ugh, that’s not a nice mental picture…

  11. redstatebluestate

    Loneranger — True story. I thought he’d changed it from something else to LaCock though, that Peter Marshall was a stagename for something else, but I have no clue. Our interns are off gallivanting the holiday so I can’t get them on the research. Oh well. LaCock will have to do for now, for all of us. ‘Tis the season.

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