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Kirk Gibson on 'magical' Dodgers and his legendary home run

September 11, 2013|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Arizona Diamondbacks Manager and former Dodger Kirk Gibson still has fond memories of his game-winning home run in the 1988 World Series.
Arizona Diamondbacks Manager and former Dodger Kirk Gibson still has fond… (Alex Gallardo / Associated…)

Was going to do all that wizardry that goes into the crafting of fine stories on Kirk Gibson’s nearly 20-minute interview on his historic World Series home run.

But realizing most followers of the team can never get enough of that 1988 moment, here is most of the nearly 20-minute interview presented pretty much unedited:

On walking into Dodger Stadium and seeing video of his game-winning home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series: “When I come here, I still walk into the stadium, I immediately look up there in right field at the seat where I think the ball landed, that I’ve named seat 88.

“I enjoy watching it. It’s good affirmation for me and my life. I remember how hard it was and how lucky I was to have done it. There’s really no reason how I accomplished it, given the situation of who I was up against and the state of my physical being. My mentality was good and I can always say it’s evidence to people who think they can’t do it, to give them a reason that they could, because that’s really what I went on, and some way, somehow, the ball went out of the ballpark and we won the World Series.”

On the motivation of TV camera panning the dugout and Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully saying Gibson was nowhere to be found: “I don’t think it was a motivating factor, it was just we were kind of in that point in the game. The way the game was unfolding, we were getting down to it and down to the last inning. I knew who we had on the bench and when Vin said that, I just kind of stood up and said, `My [rear end].’ I went and got dressed. That’s not to say I wouldn’t have got dressed if he didn’t say it, but he did, and was vocal to ever was around me at that moment. A few moments later, I had the opportunity.”

On whether, with two bad legs, he expected to have any chance to play in the Series: “Actually I hurt it in Game 4, or was it Game 5 in New York [National League Championship Series]? We immediately got an injection and then I came back. I think I sat out Game 6 and then played in Game 7, and that’s when I got on first base and tried to break up the double play down there, but because of my hamstring I kind of went into second funky and twisted my knee on the bag. That added to the discomfort.

“That night I went to my home in Santa Monica and I got in bed and put pillows under each of my legs and just kind of propped them up with elevation. I just thought I’d figure it out. At that time you always think you’re invincible and I’ll figure out a way to do it. I slept and got up about five in the morning and immediately got out of bed and said, `Yeah, this doesn’t feel bad.’ Then I jogged across my living room floor and it grabbed me and I said, `Oh, [crud]. This isn’t good.’ I got to the stadium and told them I didn’t think I could play. I’d played in Game 7 of the playoffs but thought, `Boy, this is an ugly feeling.’ So they gave me some more ejections in both injuries, and then the game unfolded. And the rest is history.”

On whether he would have been mentally ready for that moment three or four years earlier: “It’s hard to say, I just know when the opportunity came up, I thought mentally that I could do it. It was more like the opportunity and the stage when it happened. The other part was just my loyalty to my teammates and the fans.

“We had something really magical going here in ’88. I just like knew. It was like my calling. Like someone told me, `Come on, let’s go. It’s time for you to do your thing.’ I believed in it. I remember hitting a little dribbler down the line and it wasn’t pretty. Then Mike Davis started to steal, and when he finally got to second base I remember within my mind thinking, `Just dink it over the shortstop, drive him in and tie it up.’ It’s really all I was thinking at the time.

“Mentality-wise, it was a great place to be. All conditions considered, it was just an awesome place to be. Believe me, if I had the opportunity again, with all the odds against me, in a tough situation, I would take it and enjoy it again.”

On how it changed his life: “I don’t know. I did do it. I can’t say how it would have been. It has given me a lot of opportunities. I think it’s changed the way people look at me in certain situations. It’s certainly something I use to help people understand that they can accomplish things that maybe they don’t believe they can. It’s a good story. It doesn’t make sense, to be honest with you.”

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