Kirk Gibson


*Kirk Harold Gibson (born May 28, 1957) is a former American two-sport athletic star, best known as a Major League Baseball player noted for his competitiveness and clutch hitting. Currently he serves as the bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Gibson was born in Pontiac, Michigan, grew up in Waterford, Michigan (attending Waterford Kettering High School), and attended Michigan State University where he was an All-American wide receiver in football. He played only one year of college baseball. He was drafted by both the Detroit Tigers baseball team and the St. Louis Cardinals football team, but chose baseball.

Gibson played as the right fielder for the Detroit Tigers from 1983 to 1985. He helped the Tigers to the 1984 World Series championship. He became a free agent after the 1985 season, but received no significant offers, due to collusion among the owners of Major League Baseball Teams. He re-signed with the Tigers, and in 1987 helped them to win the American League East by two games over the Toronto Blue Jays in an enthralling divisional race. However, Detroit lost the 1987 American League Championship Series to the eventual World Champion Minnesota Twins.

In 1988, an arbitrator, Thomas Roberts, ruled that the owners colluded against the players. He ruled that 25 players, including Gibson, were to be immediate free agents. They were free to sign with any team. The Los Angeles Dodgers signed him.

Gibson was known for hitting clutch home runs. In the eighth inning of Game 5 of the 1984 World Series, he faced Goose Gossage, one of the game's premier relievers, in a moment that seemingly called for an intentional or at least semi-intentional walk, with first base open and the game close and Gibson having already homered earlier in the game. If the Padres could hold the Tigers and score a couple in the ninth, they would have a chance to force the Series back to San Diego, and maybe turn the tide of the Series. In a video called Sounds of the Game, Detroit manager Sparky Anderson was seen in the dugout, yelling at Gibson, "He don't want to walk you!" and making a bat-swinging motion with his hands, the universal baseball gesture for "swing away." Gibson got the message, and launched Gossage's next pitch deep into Tiger Stadium's right field upper deck for a 3-run homer, icing the game and the Series for the Tigers.

Later career

In 1991, Gibson signed as a free agent with the Kansas City Royals, and then in 1992 signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He retired from baseball temporarily, after being released by the Pirates. The following spring Sparky Anderson convinced him to return to baseball. He spent the final three years of his career (1993 - 1995) back with the Detroit Tigers, including a renaissance season in 1994 when he slugged 23 homers.

He was named the National League MVP in 1988. He is the only MVP winner to never to appear on an All-Star roster. He was named to the team twice, in 1985 and 1988, but declined the invitation both times. He announced his retirement from baseball in August 1995.

Coaching

In 2003, he was named the Tigers' bench coach, and served in that position until the midway point of the 2005 season when he was moved from bench coach to hitting coach, swapping positions with Bruce Fields. For the start of the 2007 Major League Baseball season, Gibson is the new Arizona Diamondbacks bench coach.

* - Bio from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia