UPDATE: Bob Forsch has passed away at 61 years old. Far too young, of course, and a great loss to a storied franchise. Click here to read our tribute to one of the classiest players to ever grace our beloved uniform.
It’s a rare and beautiful thing when a baseball player spends most (or all) of their career with the same team. This is particularly true when that player demonstrates talent, tenacity, and class; a deep love and appreciation develops between the fans and that special player that cannot be broken.
Few Cardinals in the history of the franchise exhibit these kinds of treasured qualities more than Bob Forsch.
Forsch made his major league debut with the Cardinals in 1974 at the age of 24. He went 7-4 in 19 games that year while posting a 2.97 ERA. This was the first taste of the workmanlike statistics Forsch would compile throughout his career with the Cardinals. The next several years saw Forsch increase his win totals, and he managed to win 20 games for a not-so-great Cardinals team in 1977.
Forsch threw two no-hitters in his career with the Redbirds, one of very few pitchers to ever manage this prestigious feat twice. The first one came in Forsch’s prime in 1978 against the Philadelphia Phillies. The second one, in 1983, came against the Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals). To this day, Forsch has thrown the only two no-hitters thrown at Busch Stadium.
The perserverence shown by Forsch in sticking with the Cardinals organization was rewarded when he helped the 1982 team win the World Series against the Milwaukee Brewers. His 15-9 record and astonishing 233 innings pitched helped the team reach the postseason. Sadly, Forsch lost two games during a wild and gritty World Series.
Forsch continued on with the organization, and he was able to see two more postseasons in 1985 and 1987. While Forsch was not particularly effective in ’85, his 11-7 record in 1987 at the age of 37 (!) definitely helped solidify a team wracked with injuries that year.
At the age of 38 Forsch signed with the Houston Astros and compiled some unimpressive numbers before his retirement the following year. However, Forsch made quite a lasting impression with Cardinals fans over his 14 year tenure with the club. His quiet professionalism, his steady pitching performances, and his surprising bat (84 RBI’s and 12 home runs in 14 years!) will never be forgotten by the faithful.