October 15 marks a memorable day in Los Angeles Dodgers franchise history. Kirk Gibson and Justin Turner share the unique honor of hitting clutch, walk-off home runs in the postseason — albeit 29 years apart.
Gibson most notably accomplished this feat in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. Battling separate knee and hamstring injuries, he was able to triumphantly rise to the occasion as a pinch-hitter in the bottom half of the ninth inning.
Having worked a full count against Oakland Athletics closer Dennis Eckersley, Gibson came through with a two-out, two-run walk-off home run to propel the Dodgers to a 5-4 victory and 1-0 series lead in the Fall Classic.
The blast set the tone for the rest of the matchup, as Los Angeles went on to defeat Oakland in five games to capture their sixth World Series championship in franchise history.
Nearly three decades later, Justin Turner replicated Gibson’s magic with an unforgettable home run of his own. Looking to take a 2-0 lead over the Chicago Cubs in the 2017 National League Championship Series, the Dodgers were in search of some late-game heroics.
With the score all tied up at one, Yasiel Puig kickstarted the bottom of the ninth with a leadoff walk against Cubs reliever Brian Duensing. Charlie Culberson advanced him to second base with a sacrifice bunt before Kyle Farmer struck out for the second out of the inning.
Chris Taylor extended the frame with a six-pitch walk, paving the way for Turner to create his own defining October moment. On the second pitch from Cubs’ right-hander John Lackey, Turner delivered a walk-off three-run home run to center field that sent Dodger Stadium into a frenzy.
The Dodgers, in five games, defeated the Cubs and advanced to their first World Series since 1988. Turner, who hit a scorching .333/.478/.667 in the series, went on to earn co-MVP honors with Taylor.