Even Clemente was intimidated by Gibson
Sometimes as a field reporter for FOX, I experience the coolest things. Case in point: Monday night, when I had the privilege of chatting with Tim McCarver and Bob Gibson before Game 3 of the National League Division Series.
McCarver threw out the first pitch to Gibson, a reversal of roles from their glory years with the Cardinals in the 1960s. And as they waited to take the field, they told me a great story about Gibson and Roberto Clemente.
Gibson said that one of Clemente's sons once recalled for him a scene from a hotel room in which his father actually practiced ducking out of the way of Gibson's pitches.
Clemente literally would get into his stance, imaginary bat in his hand, then lean back sharply as if Gibson was throwing up and in. He would do this over and over again, jerking his body back to make sure he had the movement down.
McCarver said that Clemente would get so upset by Gibson knocking him down, he often would flail away the rest of the at-bat. Gibson could go outside of the zone, knowing Clemente would swing in anger at anything.
Clemente, according to baseball-reference.com, batted only .208 with a .563 OPS off Gibson in his 18-year career, walking twice and striking out 32 times in 128 plate appearances.