This Day In Dodgers History: Kirk Gibson Walks Out Of Spring Training After Jesse Orosco Prank

On March 3, 1988, newly acquired Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Kirk Gibson stormed out of Spring Training after Jesse Orosco pranked him just before the first game.

Orosco had lined the inside of Gibson’s cap with eye black, which left a black line on his forehead once he took off the hat. This caught the attention of fans who began to laugh alongside players, prompting Gibson to leave the facility and miss the game.

Orosco immediately apologized to Gibson, after speaking with manager Tommy Lasorda and a closed-door team meeting. However, Gibson would not quickly let the prank go.

The temperamental outfielder did not join the Dodgers for pranks and was acquired to be a tone-setter, via Sam McManis of the L.A. Times:

“Basically, I don’t want to be a part of their fun and comedy act,” said Gibson. “I’m not a radical guy. I go by the rules. This other bull is foreign to me. I like to have a good time, but a good time to me is winning.” “I wasn’t ready to play in the game after that,” Gibson said. “Some racehorses walk into the gate; others get all hyped up. Before game time, I get all hyped up and I don’t have a sense of humor. That’s obvious.”

That fiery attitude is one of the main reasons Dodgers general manager Fred Claire brought Gibson to L.A. Once the incident had blown over, the club adopted his no-nonsense demeanor the rest of the season.

In 150 regular season games that season, Gibson batted .290 with 25 home runs and 76 RBI. He stole 31 bases and was among National League leaders with a .377 on-base percentage (fourth), 46 multi-hit games (seventh), 106 runs (second) and a .483 slugging percentage (ninth).

The Dodgers went 94–67, won the NL West by seven games and capped it off with an improbable World Series title.

“It was the character of all of you, it’s all about the people coming together,” Claire said during a Zoom event celebrating the 1988 World Series roster.

“I was so blessed to know the Dodgers of the ’50s, ‘The Boys of Summer,’ and having that opportunity to know Pee Wee, Jackie and Campie, it’s all about the people. And that’s what we had in ’88 without any question. We had the right group of people.”

Gibson added to MLB The Show 22

Gibson and his iconic fist pump celebration from the 1988 World Series was part of MLB The Show 22 as he became one the legends featured in the popular video game.

Gibson’s walk-off home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series along with his celebration while rounding the bases is one of the most famous moments in MLB history and recreating it will undoubtedly be one of the missions players can attempt to complete in the game.

San Diego Studio, the game’s developer, has put an emphasis over the last few years on bringing more legends into the game. In 2021, Fernando Valenzuela made his debut in the baseball video game.

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