Photo courtesy:Lansing State Journal

Kirk Gibson

Kirk Harold Gibson
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 2016
Connection to Michigan: Michigan State University, Detroit Tigers
Primary position: Outfielder


Born in Pontiac, Kirk Gibson ran track and played baseball, basketball and football at Waterford Kettering High School, where he was honored on the All Oakland County football team and offered a football scholarship to Michigan State University. He continued to pursue baseball during the summer, slugging a walk-off home run in 1975 to push his American Legion team into the championship, where they won the state title.

Gibson played three years of football at MSU, ranking among the top receivers in the Big Ten. During his junior year, he returned to baseball for coach Danny Litwhiler and batted .390 for the Spartans, setting new single season records with 16 home runs and 52 runs batted in only 48 games.

Following that one collegiate campaign, Kirk Gibson was drafted 12th overall by the Tigers in 1978. It did not take him long to enjoy even more success as a professional. He batted .429 in the American Association playoffs, leading Evansville to the 1979 A.A. championship, before making his Major League debut with the Detroit Tigers in September - the first taste of what would turn into a 17-season MLB career lasting until 1995 and spanning 1,635 games. The career was initially highlighted by a mammoth 523-foot home run over the Tiger Stadium roof in 1983. It would be overtaken by two even bigger roundtrippers.

In 1984, Gibson won the American League Championship Series MVP Award, batting .417 with a home run and delivering a key catch in the outfield. Detroit won three of the first four games of the World Series, setting up Game Five at Tiger Stadium. In the eighth inning with the Tigers leading
5-4, the San Diego Padres elected to have Goose Gossage pitch to Gibson with first base open. The ensuing three-run homer virtually clinched the Tigers' first championship in 16 years.

In 1988, Gibson signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a free agent and was named the National League MVP, batting .290 with 25 home runs and 31 stolen bases. He slugged two home runs in a seven-game NLCS triumph over the New York Mets before batting only once in the World Series - a dramatic pinch-hit game-winning two-run home run in Game One off Oakland Athletics
unhittable closer Dennis Eckersley. The Dodgers went on to win the World Series, Gibson's second ring in five seasons.

Following his playing career, Gibson served as Detroit bench coach from 2003-2005 before managing the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2010-2014. He currently serves as an analyst on Fox Sports Detroit.


 
 
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