- CF, LF, OF, RF, DH
- May 28, 1957
- 6' 3"
- 215 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 9-08-1979 with DET
- Allstar Selections:
- 1984 ALCS, 1988 MVP, 1988 SS
Kirk Gibson never played in an All-Star Game, but he was involved in several dramatic moments, including hitting one of the greatest World Series home runs ever. He won titles in both leagues, garnered the 1988 NL MVP based largely on his winning attitude and aggressive play, and starred for his hometown Tigers in two stretches. He was one of the central figures effected by the 1986-1987 collusion against free agents. He left Detroit after a falling out with the front office, owner Tom Monaghan stating "He's a disgrace to the uniform, with his beard and scruffy look." But six years later he was back in Motown, and after his playing career he joined the organization as a special instructor, announcer and coach.
When Gibson retired in the middle of the 1995 season, it gave more playing time to Juan Samuel and Tony Clark. First baseman Cecil Fielder played more at DH after Gibby left, opening the door for super-sub Samuel and young Clark.
Gibson arrived in LA like a fish out of water. An outdoorsman from the Midwest, Gibson failed to fit in to the California beach lifestyle, but he did bring a winning attitude. He took charge of the clubhouse and led one of the least talented teams in history to the World Series. He blasted two game-winning home runs in the playoffs against the Mets and then delivered his storied "The Natural" longball off Dennis Eckerlsey in Game One of the World Series. During the regular season he scored 106 runs, finishing in the top ten in home runs, slugging, and runs scored. Gibson produced 46 multi-hit games, and his .860 OPS was 4th best in the loop, trailing Darryl Strawberry, who many thought should have won the MVP. The fiesty Gibson swiped 31 bases in 34 attempts and saved his best hitting for clutch situations. His homer to win the first game of the 1988 Series was his only at-bat of that Fall Classic.
Kirk Gibson hit at least one home run against every major league team except the Tigers and the Dodgers.
Old Man Gibby
After un-retiring, Gibson rejoined the Tigers for the 1993 season. His intense drive and spirit energized the club - which hadn't seen the playoffs since he had left six years earlier. As late as June the Tigers were in first place. "I'm here to be a world champion. I said that when I signed. Everybody looked at me like I was nuts. Nobody thought we'd be where we are now, but I talked as if we would be here." The Bengals, who had lost 87 games the previous season, improved to 85 wins and finished 10 games back.
Twice in his career Gibson drove in 90 or more runs, but he never reached the 100-RBI mark. In 1994 he was on pace to eclipse the century plateau when the strike ended the season. Gibby had driven in 72 runs in just 98 games (330 at-bats). His total was just four RBI less than he had in his '88 MVP campaign. Had the 37-year old Gibson been able to reach 100-RBI he would have become the oldest player to reach that level for the first time in his career.
Gibson is the only MVP winner to never officially appear on an All-Star roster. However, he was asked to be on the team twice -- in 1985 by Sparky Anderson and in 1988 by Whitey Herzog for the National League. Both times Gibson refused to go to the mid-summer classic, opting to go hunting and spend time with his family.
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