Monday, February 2, 2009

#10T Kirk Gibson


Lots going on in the photo here. First, it's always nice to see a photo taken at Wrigley. Second, there's nearly a complete batboy in the background. Third, I believe that's Mike Marshall, with his bat in a very unfortunate position.


Gibson is one of 4 guys to hit 20 to 29 HR every year from 1984 to 1988. More on this below.


Gibson's career and legacy are very interesting to discuss. In his healthy years, he was a very good player, although never truly great. I think he's the only guy ever to win an MVP award without any All-Star game appearances in his career. He never hit 30 HR or drove in 100 runs. He never batted .300 in a full season. Injuries totally robbed him of lots of games.

And yet, Gibson is one of the greatest heroes in baseball history. He was a key member of the 1984 champion Tigers and hit one of the 2 or 3 most memorable home runs in baseball history in 1988.

I wonder what Gibson would choose, if given the choice: the actual career he had (great post-season moments and all) or an injury-free career that might have put him in the HOF. I assume he'd choose to stick with what he had, because all things considered, it was pretty damn good.


  1. Gibby doesn't seem like the "I wish I could've" type. I'm sure he'd prefer the career he had.

  2. In the late 90's, Classic Sports Network (what it was called before ESPN bought it) had a feature one October called the Ultimate World Series and they showed what they thought was the best Game 1, the best Game 2, etc.

    1988 was the Game 1 chosen. At the commercial breaks they would show an interview Dick Schaap did with Gibson. Schaap made the point that Gibson risked injury by coming out to hit that night. Gibson answered by acknowledging that he wasn't right for 2-3 years after that, but he'd much rather have lost the time and won the Series than taken it easy and had those 2-3 years injury free.

    What a competitor. I can't believe Eric Byrnes got away with threatening to take him to get a manicure and pedicure during Spring Training last year (another interview I heard on Byrnes' radio show in Feb. 2008).

    (Ultimate World Series on Classic Sports:
    Game 1 -- 1988, LA v. Oak
    Game 2 -- 1973, Oak v. Mets
    Game 3 -- 1975, Bos v. Cincy
    Game 4 -- 1978, LA v. Yankees
    Game 5 -- 1972, Oak v. Reds
    Game 6 -- 1986, Bos v. Mets
    Game 7 -- 1991, Atl v. Minn
    I watch them when I'm on the treadmill)

  3. I recently saw that Game 7. My Tivo taped it for me off of ESPN Classic. That's a game that actually lives up to my memories. I'm still somewhat surprised that Jack Morris didn't make it into the HOF, being pushed over the edge by that unforgettable performance. (He still might, I suppose, but I have my doubts.)