The Los Angeles Dodgers officially inducted Kirk Gibson into the “Legends of Dodger Baseball,” which was established in 2019 in recognition of franchise greats and their impact both on and off the field.
Inductees receive a plaque honoring their achievements while playing for the Dodgers, which also goes on permanent display at Dodger Stadium. Steve Garvey, Don Newcombe and Fernando Valenzuela made up the inaugural “Legends of Dodger Baseball” class three seasons ago.
They were joined by Maury Wills during the Dodgers’ first homestand of 2022. Like Wills, Gibson unfortunately will not be in attendance for the induction ceremony before first pitch on Saturday night due to recent knee surgery.
However, Gibson, who is a current Detroit Tigers broadcaster, recorded a message for Dodgers fans that will be played during the pregame ceremony. The first 40,000 in attendance will receive a Kirk Gibson Legends of Dodger Baseball bobblehead.
Gibson was selected by the Tigers with the 12th overall pick in the 1978 MLB Draft and remained with the team until signing with the Dodgers in 1988. Then-Dodgers general manager Fred Claire hoped Gibson’s intensity would help turn around a team that had lost 89 games in each of the previous two seasons.
Gibson’s time in L.A. got off to a rocky start as he did not take kindly to an eye black prank carried out by Jesse Orosco during Spring Training. Ultimately, Gibson’s hard-nose mentality rubbed off on his teammates and the Dodgers went on to win the National League West.
Their improbable season included defeating the New York Mets for the NL pennant and culminated with upsetting the heavily-favored Oakland Athletics in the 1988 World Series. Injuries limited Gibson to just one at-bat in the Fall Classic, but it stands in Dodgers franchise lore.
With the Dodgers trailing 4-3 and down to their last out in Game 1, Gibson entered as a pinch-hitter and hit a walk-off home run on October 15, 1988.
The Dodgers won the World Series in five games and Gibson was later named 1988 NL MVP. He spent two more seasons with L.A. and retired in 1995.
Justin Turner, Kirk Gibson linked in Dodgers history
Exactly 29 years after Gibson’s dramatic blast, Justin Turner joined him in Dodgers postseason history by hitting a walk-off home run against the Chicago Cubs in Game 2 of the NL Championship Series.
Gibson contacted Turner to congratulate him, and late Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda drew parallels between the two players.
Are you following Dodger Blue on Instagram! It’s the best way to see exclusive coverage from games and events, get your questions answered, and more!