DETROIT TIGERS HISTORY
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Kirk Gibson

Kirk Harold Gibson
Gibby
Born: 5/28/1957 in Pontiac, MI USA
Bats: L   Throws: L
Height: 6.2   Weight: 215 lb.
Kirk Gibson of the Detroit Tigers
Tiger Years
1979 — 1987
1993 — 1995

1984 World Series Champion
1984 ALCS Most Valuable Player
1987 American League East Champion
Detroit Tigers jersey #23

PRIMARY POSITION

RF

All-Time
Tigers Ranking

#30   Schoolboy Rowe
#31   Kirk Gibson
#32   Willie Horton
All rankings

Player Bio | Stats

The author of one of baseball's most dramatic home runs, Kirk Gibson made it a habit to deliver clutch hits in his 17-year career. He played 12 of those years for his hometown team - the Detroit Tigers. Gibson was a star athlete as a prep standout in the affluent suburbs of Detroit before going on to become an All-American flanker at Michigan State University. He was drafted into the NFL by the St. Louis Cardinals, but he opted to sign with the Tigers instead. It proved wise.

As a young player, Gibson as raw as they came. He struck out frequently, seemed lost in the outfield, and brooded when he failed to deliver key hits. But given time and tutelage, and with maturity, Gibson became a thrilling performer on the diamond. He had a rare combination of blazing speed and tremendous power. Sparky Anderson compared him to Mickey Mantle, which while it was a little unfair, wasn't too far off the mark. Gibson could run like a deer, hit the ball like a monster, and run over opposing catchers like a linebacker. He was an unbridledforce on the field.

He finally started to put things together in 1981 when he almost single-handedly carried the Tigers to the post-season in the second-half of the split season. In 1983 he went to see a sports psychologist to help him with his concentration and focus. One of the first baseball players to do so, Gibson benefited greatly. By 1984 he was the #3 hitter on the powerful Tiger club that roared to a 35-5 start and ran away with the pennant.

He gave the first hint at his dramatic flair in that post-season when he belted two homers in Game Five at Tiger Stadium, the last one off Goose Gossage to cement the World Series clincher. In 1987 he hit a clutch ninth inning homer against the Blue Jays to help the Tigers come from behind for a victory, launching the team toward a historic division-winning speep of Toronto the next weekend. In one game, Gibson scored from second base on a passed ball.

After the '87 season, Gibson was one of the free agents who were colluded against by the owners. He signed a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and was only there for a few days at spring training when he realized the team needed leadership. When a teammate (Jesse Orosco) put shaving cream on his cap, Gibby flipped. He called out his new teammates, challenging their their commitment to winning. The outburst may have had an effect - the Dodgers won the division title, upset the New York Mets in the playoffs (Gibson delivering crucial home runs in Game four and Game Five wins) and earned the right to face the Oakland A's in the Fall Classic.

Enter drama. Injured and not expected to play in the Series, Gibson was called on to pinch-hit in the bottom of the ninth in Game One. Trailing by one run, he lofted a pitch from Dennis Eckersley into the right field bleachers and limped on his injured leg around the bases. It was a real-life Roy Hobbs moment. The Dodgers went on to sweep the favored A's in four games.

Gibson was named National League MVP in 1988 and spent two more seasons in Los Angeles, suffering injuries that kept him shelved at times. He played briefly for the Royals and Pirates before signing a free agent deal to return to the Tigers in 1993. He had some of his best seasons after coming back, hitting 23 homers in just 98 games at the age of 37, and helping revitalize interest in the aging team. He retired following the 1995 season, and later went on to coach for the Tigers, serving under longtime teammate Alan Trammell.

In 2010, Gibson was brought in to manage the Arizona Diamondbacks in the second-half of the season. The following year he led a young D-Backs club to 94 wins and a division title. For his efforts he was named National League Manager of the Year.

Gibson hit 255 home runs and stole 284 bases in his 17 seasons, 195 of those homers coming with the Detroit Tigers.

Career Record

YearTeam LgGABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOAVGOBPSLGGDPHBPSHSFIBB
1979DETAL123839301433130.2370.2560.39500000
1980DETAL511752346219164710450.2630.3030.44001120
1981DETAL83290419511394017518640.3280.3690.47992121
1982DETAL6926634741628359725410.2780.3410.44421112
1983DETAL1284016091129155114353960.2270.3200.41424543
1984DETAL1495319215023102791299631030.2820.3630.51648366
1985DETAL154581961673752997304711370.2870.3640.5185531016
1986DETAL119441841181122886346681070.2680.3710.49287144
1987DETAL128487951352532479267711170.2770.3720.48955148
1988LADNL1505421061572812576314731200.2900.3770.483873714
1989LADNL7125335548292812335550.2130.3120.36852025
1990LADNL89315598220083826239650.2600.3450.40043020
1991KCRAL132462811091761655184691030.2360.3410.40396123
1992PITNL16566110025313120.1960.2370.30410100
1993DETAL11640362105186136215644870.2610.3370.43224034
1994DETAL98330719117223724542690.2760.3580.54823253
1995DETAL7022737591229359233610.2600.3580.44963023

Totals163557989851553260542558702847871812850.2680.3520.4637261235672
Per 1621625749815426525862887112776267
DET11774170698114018745195668194644999300.2730.3540.4804543184350

Postseason Batting Record

YearRound TeamLgGABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOAVGOBPSLGGDPHBPSHSFIBB
1984ALCSDETAL31225101210210.4170.5000.75000000
1984WSDETAL51846002731440.3330.4780.66701000
1987ALCSDETAL52146101430380.2860.3750.47600000
1988NLCSLADNL72624002620360.1540.2330.38500012
1988WSLADNL1111001200001.0001.0004.00000000

Totals21781322207219112190.2820.3800.57701012

Hall of Fame Voting

YearBallotCategoryVotesPCT
2001BBWAAPlayer132.5
75% needed for election by the BBWAA