His death came on the 52nd anniversary of his record 17-strikout performance in Game 1 of the 1968 World Series.
Gibson retired from major league baseball in 1975 and no one ever wore his number, No. 45, again.
Six years later, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
"Bob was as good as any pitcher of his era," the late San Francisco Giants baseball player Bobby Bonds said in a statement on his induction to the Hall of Fame. "I always said he was the toughest pitcher I ever faced when I came into the league ... If you need[ed] a man to win a big game, just hand the ball to Bob."
Gibson, one of seven siblings, was born Nov. 9, 1935, to, Victoria, who worked in a laundry. His father, Pack Gibson, died from tuberculosis three months before his birth.
In high school, he became an all-round athlete in baseball, basketball even though he suffered several medical issues, including rickets, pneumonia, asthma, hay fever and a heart problem, in his early years.
While in the major league, Gibson was voted the Most Valuable Player and CY Young Award winner twice.
In the first game of the 1968 World Series, he struck out 17 Detroit Tigers although the Tigers would win the series in the seven games.
Gibson posted an earned run average of 1.12 while winning 22 games, throwing 13 shutouts, and at least in part, because of his dominance, the mound was lowered by 33% from 15 inches to 10 inches.
Despite the rule change, Gibson went onto have a 2.18 earned run averaged in 1969 while pitching 314 innings, nine more than his previous season and striking out 269 hitters, one more than in 1968.
Gibson was the second National Baseball Hall of Famer on the Cardinals to die in the past month. Lou Brock, a longtime teammate, died on Sept. 6 at age 81.