Kirk Harold Gibson (nicknamed "Gibby") (born May 28, 1957) is an American former professional baseball player and manager. He is currently a color commentator for the Detroit Tigers on Fox Sports Detroit and a special assistant for the Tigers. As a player, Gibson was an outfielder who batted and threw left-handed. He spent most of his career with the Detroit Tigers but also played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kansas City Royals, and Pittsburgh Pirates.
A fierce competitor, Gibson is perhaps best known for two dramatic home runs in the World Series, each of them off a relief pitcher who would end up in the Baseball Hall of Fame. With the Tigers, he clinched the 1984 World Series with a three-run homer off Goose Gossage, who had refused to walk him with a base open. While with the Dodgers, Gibson was named the National League MVP in 1988. In game 1 of the 1988 World Series, Gibson faced heralded closer Dennis Eckersley and hit a pinch-hit walk-off home run—often described as one of the most exciting moments in World Series history. He was named to the All-Star team twice, in 1985 and 1988, but declined the invitation both times. He announced his retirement from baseball in August 1995.
Following his retirement as a player, he spent five seasons as a television analyst in Detroit and then became a coach for the Tigers in 2003. He became the Diamondbacks' bench coach in 2007 and was promoted to interim manager in 2010 following the mid-season dismissal of A. J. Hinch. On October 4, 2010, the Diamondbacks removed the "interim" label, naming Gibson their manager for the 2011 season. Gibson served as the Diamondbacks' manager until September 26, 2014.
Gibson in 2017
|Outfielder / Manager|
|Born: May 28, 1957|
|September 8, 1979, for the Detroit Tigers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|August 10, 1995, for the Detroit Tigers|
|Runs batted in||870|
|Career highlights and awards|
Gibson was born in Pontiac, Michigan on May 28, 1957, grew up in Waterford, Michigan (attending Waterford Kettering High School), and attended Michigan State University where he was an All-American wide receiver in football. Gibson's college football career was distinguished by leading the Spartans to a tie for the Big Ten title, setting school and conference receiving records, starring in the Hula Bowl and Senior Bowl, and making several All-America teams. For his accomplishments on the football field, Gibson was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in January 2017.
It was at the suggestion of Spartan football coach Darryl Rogers that Gibson played collegiate baseball. Gibson played only one year of college baseball, but managed to hit .390 with 16 homers and 52 RBIs in 48 games. He was drafted by both the Detroit Tigers baseball team (1st round) and the St. Louis Cardinals (now the Arizona Cardinals) football team (7th round). He chose baseball.
Gibson played as the regular right fielder for the Detroit Tigers from 1983 to 1987. He helped the Tigers win the 1984 World Series. He became a free agent after the 1985 season but received no significant offers because of what was later determined to be collusion among the owners of MLB teams. He re-signed with the Tigers and in 1987, helped them to win the American League East by one game over the Blue Jays in an enthralling divisional race. However, Detroit lost the 1987 American League Championship Series to the eventual World Champion Twins.
Early in his career, Gibson was proclaimed by manager Sparky Anderson to be the next Mickey Mantle. Anderson later apologized and said that probably put too much pressure on a young and inexperienced Gibson. Nevertheless, Gibson was considered a versatile power/speed player in the 1980s who was able to hit home runs as well as steal bases. He finished in the top 10 in home runs 3 times in his career and ranked in the top 10 in stolen bases 4 times. He fell one home run short of becoming the first Tiger in the 30–30 club in 1985.
Gibson was known for hitting clutch home runs. In the eighth inning of Game 5 of the 1984 World Series between the Tigers and Padres, he faced Goose Gossage, one of the game's premier relievers, with Detroit up 5–4 and runners on second and third with one out. An intentional (or at least semi-intentional) walk seemed to be in order, especially because Gibson had already homered earlier in the game. However, Gossage told San Diego manager Dick Williams he thought he could strike him out. Indeed, Gossage had struck out Gibson in his very first Major League at-bat in 1979 on 3 pitches, and Kirk had only managed one bunt-single against Gossage in 10 previous plate appearances. When asked about Gibson, Gossage later said he had told teammate Tim Lollar in the second inning, "I own him." If the Padres could hold the Tigers and score a couple runs in the ninth, they would force the Series back to San Diego and maybe turn the tide. In the Sounds of the Game video, Detroit manager Sparky Anderson was seen yelling at Gibson from the dugout, "He don't want to walk you!", showing four fingers and then making a bat-swinging motion, the universal baseball gesture for "swing away." Gibson got the message and launched Gossage's 1–0 fastball deep into Tiger Stadium's right field upper deck for a three-run homer, icing the game and the Series for the Tigers.
In the ESPN interview with Gossage and Williams that aired after the 2008 Hall of Fame inductions, Williams took responsibility for the situation, as he allowed Gossage to talk him into pitching to Gibson. At the same time, Williams ribbed Gossage that Gibson's home run damaged several seats "in consecutive rows."
In 1988, an arbitrator ruled that baseball team owners had colluded against the players in an effort to stem free agency. He granted several players, including Gibson, immediate free agency. Gibson signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Gibson joined the Dodgers in 1988, and immediately brought a winning attitude after a publicized blow-up when pitcher Jesse Orosco put shoe black in his cap during a spring training prank. Gibson openly criticized the team, which had finished 4th in the NL West the previous season, for its unprofessionalism. He became the team's de facto leader, and won a controversial NL MVP award after batting .290 with 25 home runs, 76 RBIs, 106 runs, and 31 stolen bases. While he didn't lead the league in any major category, the intensity and leadership he brought to an increasingly successful team likely won him the award over players with more impressive statistics. (MVP runner-up Darryl Strawberry of the New York Mets, for example, led the NL with 39 home runs that season.)
In the 1988 National League Championship Series against the New York Mets, Gibson made an improbable catch in left field at a rain-soaked Shea Stadium in Game 3. Racing back, he slipped on the wet grass and, while on his way down with his knees on the ground and the rest of his body suspended, reached out and made a full extension catch to save a potential Mookie Wilson double; however, the Dodgers lost the game 8–4. In Game 4, his solo home run in the top of the 12th proved to be the winning hit. In Game 5, he hit a two-out three-run homer in the fifth; the Dodgers ended up winning the game 7–4. Nonetheless, his LCS heroics served as but a prelude to the career-defining moment that awaited him in the subsequent World Series.
Gibson is perhaps best known for his one and only plate appearance in the 1988 World Series against the Oakland Athletics. Having injured both legs during the NLCS, Gibson was not expected to play at all. In Game 1, however, with the Dodgers trailing by a score of 4–3, Mike Davis on first base, and two out in the ninth inning, manager Tommy Lasorda unexpectedly inserted his hobbled league MVP as a pinch hitter. Gibson, limping back and forth between a pulled left hamstring and a swollen right knee, made his way to the plate to face Oakland's future Hall of Fame closer Dennis Eckersley. Gibson quickly got behind in the count 0–2, but laid off a pair of outside pitches that were called balls. He then kept the count at 2–2 by fouling off a pitch. On the 7th pitch of his at bat, a ball, Davis stole second. With an awkward, almost casual swing, Gibson used pure upper-body strength—and according to Gibson, advanced scouting-based knowledge of what the pitcher would likely throw with that count—to smack a 3–2 backdoor slider over the right-field fence. He hobbled around the bases and pumped his right fist as his jubilant teammates stormed the field. The Dodgers won the game, 5–4, and would go on to win the World Series, four games to one.
In 1991, Gibson signed as a free agent with the Kansas City Royals, and then in 1992 he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Neal Heaton. He retired from baseball temporarily, after being released by the Pirates on May 5, 1992. A month later, Gibson got an offer to return to Detroit—not with the Tigers, but to play football again, with the Arena Football League's Detroit Drive; he declined the offer. The following spring, Sparky Anderson convinced him to return to baseball. He spent the final three years of his career (1993–1995) back with the Detroit Tigers, including a renaissance season in 1994 when he slugged 23 homers.
On January 28, 2019, Gibson was named a special assistant for the Detroit Tigers.
In 2003, he was named the Tigers' bench coach by new Tigers manager and former Tigers teammate Alan Trammell. He served in that position until the midway point of the 2005 season when he was moved from bench coach to hitting coach, swapping positions with Bruce Fields. As of the start of the 2007 Major League Baseball season, Gibson became the new Arizona Diamondbacks bench coach.
Gibson had worn #23 as a player in both football at Michigan State and baseball throughout his career. However, while coaching for the Tigers, he wore #22 after #23 was retired for Willie Horton. Gibson wore #23 as manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
On July 1, 2010, the Arizona Diamondbacks fired A. J. Hinch as manager and promoted Gibson from his position as bench coach to interim manager. Shortly after the season, Gibson was named permanent manager and given a two-year contract. In his first full year as manager, Gibson led the Diamondbacks to their first N.L. West title since 2007, when most sports writers expected them to be in last place for the third time in a row. He was named NL Manager of the Year on November 16, 2011. On September 26, 2014 the Arizona Diamondbacks fired Gibson, ending his four-year tenure with the team. He finished his Diamondbacks career with a 353–375 regular season and 2–3 post–season record.
|Team||From||To||Regular season record||Post–season record|
|W||L||Win %||W||L||Win %|
Gibson married JoAnn Sklarski on December 22, 1985, in a double ceremony where Tiger pitcher Dave Rozema married JoAnn's sister Sandy. They were married at Grosse Pointe Memorial Church in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan. The Gibsons reside in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, and have four children: Colleen, Cam, Kirk, and Kevin. Gibson's son Cam was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 5th round, 160th overall, in the 2015 Major League Baseball draft. His son Kevin is a defenseman for the Fort Wayne Komets in the ECHL.
Gibson is an avid deer hunter. He and former teammate David Wells, along with former MLB pitcher Jake Peavy, own a 1,300-acre hunting ranch near Millersburg, Michigan, which they named the "Buck Falls Ranch". On April 28, 2015, it was announced that Gibson was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
| Detroit Tigers hitting coach
| Arizona Diamondbacks bench coach
The 1976 Michigan State Spartans football team is an American football team that represented Michigan State University in the 1976 Big Ten Conference football season. In their first season under head coach Darryl Rogers, the Spartans compiled a 4–6–1 overall record (3–5 against Big Ten opponents) and finished in a three-way tie for seventh place in the Big Ten Conference.Seven Spartans were selected by either the Associated Press (AP) or the United Press International (UPI) for the 1976 All-Big Ten Conference football teams: tight end Mike Cobb (AP-1, UPI-1); defensive back Tom Hannon (AP-1, UPI-1); flanker Kirk Gibson (AP-2, UPI-2); center Al Pitts (AP-2, UPI-2); defensive tackle Larry Bethea (AP-2, UPI-2); offensive tackle Tony Bruggenthies (AP-2); and defensive end Otto Smith (UPI-2).1978 All-Big Ten Conference football team
The 1978 All-Big Ten Conference football team consists of American football players chosen by various organizations for All-Big Ten Conference teams for the 1978 Big Ten Conference football season. The only player unanimously selected by the conference coaches as a first-team player was Michigan fullback Russell Davis. Michigan State flanker Kirk Gibson fell one point short of unanimity, and running back Marion Barber, Jr., fell two points short.1978 College Baseball All-America Team
An All-American team is an honorary sports team composed of the best amateur players of a specific season for each team position—who in turn are given the honorific "All-America" and typically referred to as "All-American athletes", or simply "All-Americans". Although the honorees generally do not compete together as a unit, the term is used in U.S. team sports to refer to players who are selected by members of the national media. Walter Camp selected the first All-America team in the early days of American football in 1889.From 1947 to 1980, the American Baseball Coaches Association was the only All-American selector recognized by the NCAA.1978 Major League Baseball draft
In 1978, four American baseball players were promoted from amateur baseball to the major leagues, including Arizona State University third baseman Bob Horner, who was selected number one overall by the Atlanta Braves. Oakland High School pitchers Tim Conroy and Mike Morgan, and Brian Milner of Toronto also went directly to the big leagues.
In addition to Horner, the Braves also selected future major leaguers Matt Sinatro (2nd round), Steve Bedrosian (3rd round), Rick Behenna (4th round), Jose Alvarez (8th round) and Gerald Perry (11th round).
Others drafted in June 1978 included Lloyd Moseby and Dave Stieb (Toronto), Mike Marshall and Steve Sax (Los Angeles), Cal Ripken, Jr. and Mike Boddicker (Baltimore), Kirk Gibson (Detroit), Kent Hrbek (Minnesota) and Hubie Brooks (New York Mets).1978 Michigan State Spartans football team
The 1978 Michigan State Spartans football team represented Michigan State University during the 1978 Big Ten Conference football season. Finishing the season on a seven-game winning streak, the Spartans won their fourth Big Ten Conference championship, which they shared with in-state rival Michigan. The Spartans finished number 12 in the final AP Poll.
Wide receive Kirk Gibson caught 42 passes for 806 yard during the 1978 season. Gibson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2017.Quarterback Ed Smith led the Big Ten in 1978 with 2,226 passing yards, a 139.0 passing efficiency rating, and 2,247 yards of total offense. He was also selected as the most valuable player on the 1978 Michigan State team. He finished his career as Michigan State's and the Big Ten's all-time leader with 5,706 passing yards.1981 Detroit Tigers season
The 1981 Detroit Tigers finished in fourth place in the American League East with a record of 31-26 (.544) in the first half of the season, and in third place with a record of 29-23 (.558) in the second half, for an overall record of 60-49. They outscored their opponents 427 to 404. The Tigers drew 1,149,144 fans to Tiger Stadium in 1981, ranking 5th of the 14 teams in the American League.1984 American League Championship Series
The 1984 American League Championship Series matched the East Division champion Detroit Tigers against the West Division champion Kansas City Royals. The Tigers prevailed three games to none, to advance to the 1984 World Series against the San Diego Padres.
Due to a strike by major league umpires, the series was played using local and collegiate umpires, with former AL umpire and league supervisor Bill Deegan working home plate for all three games.1984 Detroit Tigers season
The 1984 Detroit Tigers won the 1984 World Series, defeating the San Diego Padres, 4 games to 1. The season was their 84th since they entered the American League in 1901 and their fourth World Series championship. Detroit relief pitcher Willie Hernández won the Cy Young Award and was chosen as the American League Most Valuable Player. The 1984 season is also notable for the Tigers leading the AL East division wire-to-wire. They opened with a 9–0 start, were 35–5 after 40 games, and never relinquished the lead during the entire season.1987 American League Championship Series
The 1987 American League Championship Series pitted the Minnesota Twins, the American League West champions, against the Detroit Tigers, the American League East champions. Minnesota won the Series four games to one, en route to winning the 1987 World Series four games to three over the St. Louis Cardinals.1988 Los Angeles Dodgers season
The 1988 season was a memorable one for the Dodgers as a squad that was picked to finish fourth wound up winning the World Series, beating the heavily favored New York Mets and Oakland Athletics on the way. Kirk Gibson carried the Dodger offense, winning the National League Most Valuable Player Award. Orel Hershiser dominated on the mound, throwing a record 59 consecutive scoreless innings on his way to winning the Cy Young Award.1988 Major League Baseball season
The 1988 Major League Baseball season ended with the underdog Los Angeles Dodgers shocking the Oakland Athletics, who had won 104 games during the regular season, in the World Series. The most memorable moment of the series came in Game 1, when injured Dodger Kirk Gibson hit a dramatic pinch-hit walk-off home run off Athletics closer Dennis Eckersley to win the game for Los Angeles. The Dodgers went on to win the Series in five games.1988 World Series
The 1988 World Series was the 85th edition of Major League Baseball's championship series, and the conclusion of the 1988 Major League Baseball season. It was a best-of-seven playoff played between the American League (AL) champion Oakland Athletics and the National League (NL) champion Los Angeles Dodgers, with the Dodgers upsetting the heavily favored Athletics to win the Series in five games. It is best known for the pinch-hit walk-off home run hit by Dodgers outfielder and 1988 NL MVP Kirk Gibson, who could barely walk due to injuries suffered during the NLCS, against Hall-of-Fame Athletics closer Dennis Eckersley in Game 1. The Dodgers were the only MLB team to win more than one World Series title in the 1980s; their other World Series title during the decade came in 1981 (they also broke a 10-year chain of 10 different World Series champions going back to 1978).Although Gibson's home run has become an iconic World Series moment, it was series MVP Orel Hershiser who capped a dominant 1988 season in which he set the all time scoreless inning streak at 59 innings, recorded five straight shutouts, led the league with 23 wins and 267 innings, and won the Cy Young and Gold Glove awards. Hershiser was the MVP of the NLCS, starting three games, getting the save for Game 4, and shutting out the Mets in Game 7. In the World Series, he shut out the A's in Game 2, and pitched a two-run, complete game in the decisive Game 5 victory.
The Los Angeles Dodgers won the National League West division by seven games over the Cincinnati Reds then upset the New York Mets, four games to three, in the 1988 NLCS. The Oakland Athletics won the American League West division by thirteen games over the Minnesota Twins then swept the Boston Red Sox, four games to none, in the American League Championship Series.1991 Kansas City Royals season
The 1991 Kansas City Royals season involved the Royals finishing 6th in the American League West with a record of 82 wins and 80 losses.1994 Detroit Tigers season
The Detroit Tigers' 1994 season had a record of 53-62 in a strike-shortened season. The season ended with the Tigers in 5th place in the newly formed American League East Division. The season featured the return of former star Kirk Gibson, the return of Ernie Harwell to the television broadcast booth and the 18th season of the Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker double play combination.Kirk Gibson's 1988 World Series home run
Kirk Gibson's 1988 World Series home run occurred in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, on October 15, 1988, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Gibson, pinch hitting for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the bottom of the ninth inning, with injuries to both legs, hit a two-run walk-off home run off the Oakland Athletics' Dennis Eckersley that won Game 1 for the Dodgers by a score of 5–4.
After winning the National League West division, the Dodgers were considered the underdogs throughout the 1988 postseason, first to the New York Mets in the NLCS, then to the A's in the World Series. Gibson, who was not expected to play due to injuries in both legs sustained during the NLCS, was surprisingly inserted as a pinch hitter with the Dodgers trailing 4–3 with two outs and the tying run at first base in the bottom of the ninth inning. Gibson's home run—his only plate appearance of the series—helped the Dodgers defeat the A's, 4 games to 1, securing their sixth World Series title.
The play has since become legendary in the baseball world, and is regarded as one of the greatest home runs of all time. It was voted the "greatest moment in L.A. sports history" in a 1995 poll. Many of the images associated with the home run, particularly Gibson pumping his fist while circling the bases, are often shown in classic highlight reels, usually accompanied by Vin Scully or Jack Buck's call. Though not related to his World Series home run, Gibson would be named the 1988 NL MVP. He was named to two All-Star teams (1985 in the AL, and 1988 in the NL), but declined both invitations.List of Detroit Tigers first-round draft picks
The Detroit Tigers are a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in Detroit, Michigan. They play in the American League Central division. Since the institution of MLB's Rule 4 Draft, the Tigers have selected 60 players in the first round. Officially known as the "First-Year Player Draft", the Rule 4 Draft is MLB's primary mechanism for assigning players from high schools, colleges, and other amateur clubs to its franchises. The draft order is determined based on the previous season's standings, with the team possessing the worst record receiving the first pick. In addition, teams which lost free agents in the previous off-season may be awarded compensatory or supplementary picks.Of the 62 players picked in the first round by Detroit, 31 have been pitchers, the most of any position; 25 of these were right-handed, while five were left-handed. Twelve outfielders were selected, while five shortstops, five catchers, three first basemen, three third basemen and one second baseman were taken as well. One additional player, Lance Parrish (1974), was drafted as an infielder but ultimately spent the majority of his Major League career at catcher. Twelve of the players came from high schools or universities in the state of California, followed by Texas with nine players. The Tigers have also drafted five players from their home state of Michigan.Two of the Tigers' first-round picks have won championships with the franchise. Parrish and Kirk Gibson (1978) won a World Series title on the 1984 championship team. Justin Verlander (2004) is the only first-round pick of the Tigers to win the Rookie of the Year Award, taking the honor in 2006. Two Tigers first-round picks have won the Cy Young Award, both in the American League; Verlander won the award in 2011 with the Tigers and 2007 pick Rick Porcello won in 2016 with the Boston Red Sox. None of their first-round picks have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Justin Verlander became the first player who was drafted in the 1st round of the draft to win the Most Valuable Player award while with the Tigers in the 2011 season. Gibson won the MVP award in his first year with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988.The Tigers have made nine selections in the supplemental round of the draft and have made the first overall selection twice (1997 and 2018). They have also had eight compensatory picks since the institution of the First-Year Player Draft in 1965. These additional picks are provided when a team loses a particularly valuable free agent in the previous off-season, or, more recently, if a team fails to sign a draft pick from the previous year. The Tigers failed to sign their 1966 first-round pick, Rick Konik, but they received no compensatory pick.Neal Heaton
Neal Heaton (born March 3, 1960) is a former Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher who played for the Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins, Montreal Expos, Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, and New York Yankees from 1982 to 1993.
Heaton was drafted by the Indians in the 2nd round of the 1981 amateur draft from the University of Miami. He was selected to the National League All-Star team in 1990 with the Pirates. On March 10, 1992, the Pirates traded Heaton to the Kansas City Royals for Kirk Gibson. In his 12-season career, he posted an 80-96 record with 699 strikeouts and a 4.37 ERA in 1507.0 innings pitched.Tom Browning's perfect game
On September 16, 1988, Tom Browning of the Cincinnati Reds pitched the 12th perfect game in Major League Baseball history, blanking the Los Angeles Dodgers 1–0 at Riverfront Stadium. Browning threw 72 of his 100 pitches for strikes and did not run the count to three balls on a single Dodger hitter. He recorded seven strikeouts, the last of which was to the game's final batter, pinch-hitter Tracy Woodson. A two-hour, 27 minute rain delay forced the game to start at approximately 10 PM local time. The rain delay lasted longer than the game itself, played in a brisk one hour, 51 minutes.
The game's lone run came in the sixth inning. Batting against Tim Belcher, himself working on a no-hitter, Barry Larkin doubled and advanced to third on Chris Sabo's infield single; an error by Jeff Hamilton on the play enabled Larkin to score.
Browning, who became the first left-handed pitcher to pitch a perfect game since Sandy Koufax in 1965 (see Sandy Koufax's perfect game), had had another no-hitter broken up earlier in the season, against the San Diego Padres at Jack Murphy Stadium on June 6. A Tony Gwynn single with one out in the ninth foiled this bid and would be the only hit Browning allowed in defeating the Padres 12–0.
The Dodgers would go on to win the World Series—the only time, to date, that a team has won a World Series after having a perfect game pitched against it during the season. (Only one other team has since earned a postseason berth after having a perfect game pitched against it during the season: the 2010 Tampa Bay Rays, who were on the losing end of Dallas Braden's perfect game on May 9, went on to win the American League East title.) Kirk Gibson, whose walk-off home run in Game 1 of that Series helped the Dodgers defeat the Oakland Athletics 4 games to 1, was ejected by home plate umpire Jim Quick after striking out in the seventh inning of the perfect game.
The perfect game was the first of a record three Paul O'Neill would play in as a member of the winning team. As a New York Yankee, he would be on the winning end of David Wells' and David Cone's in 1998 and 1999 respectively.
On July 4 of the following season, Browning narrowly missed becoming the first pitcher to throw two perfect games. Against the Philadelphia Phillies at Veterans Stadium, his Reds leading 2–0, he retired the first 24 batters he faced before Dickie Thon broke up the bid with a leadoff double. After striking out Steve Lake, Browning gave up a single to Steve Jeltz to score Thon. John Franco then relieved Browning and got Len Dykstra to hit into a game-ending double play.
1978 College Baseball All-America Team selections
|Minor league affiliates|
|American League pennants (11)|
|Division titles (7)|
|Wild card berths (1)|