Kirk Gibson: MVP, World Series hero

Publish date:

During his 17-year career (1979 to '95), Gibson clouted not one but two of the most famous World Series homers in recent memory. His three-run upper deck shot off the Padres' Goose Gossage in the eighth inning of Game 5 of the 1984 World Series sealed the Tigers' championship. Four years later, he hit a walkoff, pinch-hit homer off the Athletics' Dennis Eckersley in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, at a point when he could barely walk due to left hamstring and right knee injuries, that is the stuff of legend, keying the Dodgers' upset victory.

Gibson, who had signed with Los Angeles as a free agent that year and won NL MVP honors, struggled with injuries over the remaining seven seasons of his career, playing in more than 116 games just once more. Thus, his career totals (1,553 hits and 255 homers, not to mention 38.1 WAR) didn't do much to impress BBWAA voters, who gave him just 2.5% in 2001.

TAYLER: 2017 New Year's resolutions for every AL team