This Day In Dodgers History: Kirk Gibson Signs; Branch Rickey Selected To Hall Of Fame

On January 29, 1988, Kirk Gibson signed a three-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers just one week after he was among seven players to be granted free agency by an arbitrator who ruled MLB team owners were colluding to drive down salaries.

The former Detroit Tigers outfielder was the only one of the seven players to go to a new team.
Gibson ended up becoming a key piece for the Dodgers that season.

He was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player and won the Silver Slugger Award as he hit .290/.377/.483 with 25 home runs, 76 RBIs, 106 runs scored and 31 stolen bases.

Gibson also hit one of the most memorable home runs in baseball history against the Oakland Athletics in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series despite being injured. The Dodgers of course went on to win the championship.

Two years later, the league went into a lockout as tensions from the owners’ collusion combined with the league agreeing to a new TV broadcasting deal with a 102% increase from the previous deal with no extra compensation for the players.

Gibson wound up spending three seasons with the Dodgers, hitting .264/.353/.433 with 56 doubles, 42 home runs and 142 RBI in 310 games over that span.

Dodgers GM Branch Rickey selected to Hall of Fame

Also on this day but in 1967, Former Dodgers’ president and general manager Branch Rickey was selected as the 105th member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame by a 12-man Veterans Committee led by former commissioner Ford Frick.

Along with Rickey, former Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Lloyd Warner was also elected. Under the current rules, only two retired players for at least 20 years or more receive consideration in the annual selection of old-timers.

Rickey, who also worked for the St. Louis Cardinals, is best known for signing Jackie Robinson to begin integrating the Major Leagues in 1947 and for developing the Minor League Baseball farm system that every team uses today.

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