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Dodgers: 24 years since "The impossible has happened"

October 15, 2012|By Bill Shaikin
  • By next year's World Series it will have been 25 years since Kirk Gibson's memorable home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.
By next year's World Series it will have been 25 years since Kirk Gibson's… (Los Angeles Times )

When the Dodgers report to spring training, it will be 25 years since Kirk Gibson hit perhaps the most celebrated home run in World Series. It also will be 25 years since the Dodgers last appeared in the World Series, a streak that is not worthy of celebration.

Of the 30 major league teams, eight have not appeared in the World Series since 1988, the year of the improbable.

Baseball has welcomed four expansion teams since then, and all four have made it. Every team in the National League West except the Dodgers have made it.

The Angels have made it. The Marlins made it twice. Canada made it twice.

The teams that have not appeared in the World Series since 1988: the Dodgers, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners and Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos.

Here is the box score from that memorable Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. Gibson is now the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Dennis Eckersley, who gave up the home run, is an analyst on TBS. Dave Stewart, who started that game for the Oakland Athletics, is Matt Kemp’s agent.

The Gibson home run evoked two distinctive calls. On the national television broadcast, Jack Buck hollered, “I don’t believe what I just saw!” Not bad, but not classic.

In Los Angeles, we were blessed with the words of Vin Scully, in language that has inspired echoes and riffs to this day: “In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.”

In the next 25 years, may the World Series not be quite so improbable.

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