Kirk Gibson had a memorable career that included two World Series-changing home runs. The first came in 1984 as a Detroit Tiger. Gibson stepped into the batters box to face the Padres Rich “Goose” Gossage. San Diego skipper Dick Williams wiggled four fingers to signal to Gossage to issue an intentional walk. The Hall of Fame reliever had owned Gibson who was 1-for-9 with 7 strikeouts against him.
Gossage talked Williams out of the intentional pass during a mound visit and readied himself to face Gibson. It was a decision the Padres would live to regret as Gibson slammed Goose’s first offering into the upper deck of Tiger Stadium. The 8th-inning three-run blast gave the Detroit a four-run lead in the Series-clinching Game 5.
Gibson’s other World Series moment is better remembered. After leaving Detroit for the Dodgers in January of 1988, Gibson pushed Los Angeles all the way to the Fall Classic. The banged-up outfielder would get only one World Series at bat that season, and boy did he make it count!
In the bottom of the 9th with one on, the Oakland Athletics were one out away from winning Game 1 at Los Angeles. The A’s had plenty to be confident about, having completed the regular season with an MLB-best 104 wins. They also had the majors saves leader Dennis Eckersley on the hill ready to close out the game.
Gibson stepped to the plate, worked the count full, and hit one of the most memorable homers in baseball history – a World Series walk-off to give his Dodgers a 1-0 Series lead.
Gibson enjoyed a 17-year big league career dotted with outstanding moments. Named the 1988 NL Most Valuable Player, Gibson remains the only player to earn the MVP Award yet never appear in an All Star game.
Fifteen years after retiring as a player, Gibson became manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The following season he was chosen as a coach for the All Star game. In the collection is this document signed by Kirk Gibson for receipt of his first and only All Star ring from the 2011 Midsummer Classic.