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Floyd Giebell

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Floyd Giebell

Floyd George Giebell (December 10, 1909 – April 28, 2004) was an American Major League Baseball player who is best remembered as the pitcher who shut out Bob Feller and the Cleveland Indians in his third career start to clinch the 1940 American League pennant for the Detroit Tigers over the Indians.

Born in Pennsboro, West Virginia, Giebell attended Salem International University and played for the Tigers briefly in 1939 but only pitched 15⅓ innings in relief before being sent to the Toledo Mud Hens, where he pitched most of the 1939 season.

The 1940 season

In September 1940, Giebell was brought back up to the major leagues and had two outstanding starts during the 1940 pennant drive. Giebel pitched a pair of complete game victories and gave up only two runs in 18 innings for an earned run average of 1.00.

Giebell got his first start on September 19, 1940 with Tigers and Indians tied for first place. Giebell, who had just been called up from Buffalo where he went 15–16, pitched a complete game, giving up only two runs as the Tigers beat the Philadelphia Athletics 13–2.

Pennant-clinching shutout over Bob Feller

On September 27, 1940, the Tigers needed one more win to clinch the pennant. With 27 game winner Rudy York. That was all the Tigers needed thanks to Giebell's pitching that day.

The setting in Cleveland that day was raucous. The Indians had built a reputation as the "Cleveland Crybabies" for their whining about manager [3]

The umpire called time twice, and Indians manager [5] The Cleveland police quickly apprehended the offender, Armen Guerra, and took him to the Detroit clubhouse. Tebbetts, now conscious, beat up Guerra while the cops looked the other way. Guerra, who earlier had dropped the crate on Tebbets, filed criminal assault charges, but Tebbets was acquitted.

Giebell remained calm through the commotion in Cleveland, and shutout the Indians for 9 innings in one of the great "David vs. Goliath" moments in baseball.

Career and life after 1940

The pennant-clinching win over Feller was only the third of Giebell's carer, but it proved to be his last. Having played in only three games, he was not eligible to play in the 1940 World Series. Giebell pitched briefly for the Tigers in 1941 but his ERA soared from 1.00 to 6.03. Giebell was sent back to the minor leagues. He pitched for Buffalo in 1941 and 1942 and then served in the military for three years during World War II. He returned to baseball following the war, but never made it out of the minor leagues. He retired in 1948.

Over his three-year major league career, Giebell was 3–1 in 28 games (four as a starter) with a 3.99 earned run average in 67-2/3 innings.

According to his obituary, Gieball worked in the Quality Control Labs of Weirton Steel until his retirement.

Giebel died in 2004 at age 94 in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. According to published accounts, Giebell still had a silver tray that had been signed by all the Detroit players to commemorate the pennant-clinching victory.

Further Reading

  • Dennis Snelling: A Glimpse of Fame, McFarland & Company, Jefferson N.C., 1993, pp 183-200

External links

  • Baseball Almanac
  • Baseball-Reference.com
  • Find a Grave
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