The Los Angeles Dodgers held an induction ceremony over the weekend for Kirk Gibson to be added to their “Legends of Dodger Baseball” group that also includes Steve Garvey, Don Newcombe, Fernando Valenzuela and Maury Wills.
Each of the players has been recognized for their impact both on and off the field, and received a personalized plaque with one also being put on display on the top deck at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers began the initiative in 2019 with Garvey, Newcombe and Valenzuela making up the inaugural class.
Like Wills, Gibson unfortunately was not in attendance for the induction ceremony before first pitch on Saturday night due to recent knee surgery. Manny Mota and Bill Russell shared the honor of unveiling Gibson’s plaque on the field.
However, Gibson, who is a current Detroit Tigers broadcaster, recorded a message for Dodgers fans that was played. The first 40,000 in attendance received a Kirk Gibson Legends of Dodger Baseball bobblehead.
Gibson was taken 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.
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 to win 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 out 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 against vaunted closer Dennis Eckersley.
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.
Former Dodgers teammates remember Gibson
Gibson’s pregame ceremony included a video with commentary and reflections from Orel Hershiser, Mike Scisocia and more members from the 1988 Dodgers roster.
While each raved about Gibson’s impact on the field, they praised him just as much for his influence and kindness off it.
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