Bob Gibson, winner of 251 games and one of the leading pitchers in World Series history, entered baseball's Hall of Fame today with the hope he'll be remembered "for giving 100 percent every time I went on the field."
Formally inducted with Gibson were Johnny Mize, a fellow St. Louis Cardinal who was a four-timek National League home run champion, and Rube Foster, founder of the Negro National League. Their induction brought membership in the Hall to 176.
Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, greeted by more boos than applause, presided over the ceremony in clear, sunny weather. It took place on the porch of the Baseball Library adjoining the museum before 21 other Hall of Famers and a crowd of about 3,000.
There was only passing mention of the 50-day players' stike that shut down baseball this summer, although the strike did have an effect on the proceedings. The Hall of Fame game, scheduled for Monday between the Cincinnati Reds and Oakland A's, was scratched and a New York-Penn League contest was substituted.
Kuhn spoke of the "enduring nature of the game.Baseball is best exemplified by its greats and their marvelous accomplishments. These memories ultimately will outlast the nightmare we have endured this summer.
"In my judgments, this shall pass."
The fans also booed announcer Jack Buck, who introduced the Hall of Famers in attendance. The boos and catcalls turned to cheers with the introduction of the new members, especially Gibson, who received a standing ovation.
"I wasn't always good," said Gibson, 45. "But nobody can ever accuse me of not giving my best. Baseball has been my life. There are many great people in it and I hope baseball will make an effort to retain them so it will return to the quality we once knew."
Gibson was electedk to the hall of his first year of eligibility, but Mize's wait was almost interminable. He retired in 1953, became eligible in 1958 and was by-passed 22 times -- 20 by the Baseball Writers Association of America and twice by the Veterans Committee, which selected him this year.
Mize, 58, recalled his years of frustration, saying, "Years ago, the writers told me I'd make the Hall of Fame, so I prepared a speech. But somewhere along the 28 years, it got lost."
Foster's plaque was accepted by his son, Earl, whose voice tembled as he said, "I thank you. . . I thank you . . . I thank you.
"They gave me a little speach," he said. "But I don't think I can make it, no way. Thank you."