Former major league pitcher Bob Forsch died suddenly yesterday as a result of an aneurysm in his chest. He was 61.
Forsch’s death comes less than a week after he threw out the first pitch in St. Louis before Game 7 of World Series in which the Cardinals would win their 11th World Series in franchise history.
Forsch pitched nearly his entire 16-year big league career with the Cardinals earning a World Series ring in 1982 and also appeared on their NL championship teams in 1985 and 1987 before finishing his career with the Houston Astros. Forsch won 163 games for the Cardinals including 20 wins during the 1977 season. Only Bob Gibson and Jesse Haines won more games with the Redbirds. But Forsch accomplished something even Gibson and Haines didn’t. Forsch is the only pitcher in Cardinals history to have thrown two no-hitters. His first came in 1978 against the Philadelphia Phillies while his second came in 1983 against the Montreal Expos. Both no-hitters were thrown at Busch Memorial Stadium II.
Forsch was also a good hitting pitcher, slamming 12 home runs during his big league career. His younger brother Ken also enjoyed a solid pitching career with the Astros and California Angels. He also threw a no-hitter making them the only brothers to have ever thrown no-hitters in MLB history.
In recent years, Forsch has been with the Cincinnati Reds working as a minor league pitching coach and as an adviser to Reds GM Walt Jocketty (who served in that capacity for many years with St. Louis).
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch remembers Forsch this way:
I’ll remember Bob Forsch on a more personal level: quick with a good-natured jab (delivered with a devious twinkle in his eye), refreshingly honest, never short on an opinion. Forsch was a cut-through-the-bull kind of man, and I liked that very much. A guy’s guy all the way. And as they say in baseball: a true professional.
Broadcaster Bob Costas, after being informed of Forsch’s death, remembered a moment that wouldn’t qualify as one of the pitcher’s career highlights. After the Cardinals and Joaquin Andujar imploded in Game 7 of the 1985 World Series at Kansas City, Forsch was brought into pitch. It was a lost cause, and it was an embarrassing evening for but that meant nothing to Forsch.
“When Bob Forsch took the ball, a sense of professionalism, pride and dignity was restored,” Costas told me Friday on 101 ESPN.
Despite his success, Forsch was self-effacing albeit in a humorous way. He once said that longtime teammate Ozzie Smith “would never have been in the Hall of Fame without all the outstanding plays he had to make behind me.”