Am I the only one who is utterly shocked every time ESPN shows Kirk Gibson’s 1988 World Series home run without including a clip of his 1984 Fall Classic classic off Goose Gossage? I may be a little biased, but I swear the 1984 shot was just as dramatic and memorable. It seems to me that Gibson’s post-season highlight film isn’t quite long enough.
Granted, the ’88 shot was a walk-off home run and had all the makings of a fairytale. Who can forget Gibson hobbling to the plate and grimacing with pain as he won the ‘Series MVP award with only one plate appearance? But in its own way, the 1984 homer was even more amazing.
It was the nightcap on one of the most amazing seasons in Major League Baseball history; it was baseball strategy gone wild as a future Hall of Fame pitcher believed he could strike out Gibson the way he did on his first at bat in the Majors; it was pure drama as banter — and a $10 bet — ensued between the batter and his manager while a debate took place between the pitcher and his manager on the mound; it was amazing theatrics as Gibson annihilated the ball and parked it in the upper deck seats — a shot so powerful in both distance and importance, that even Gibson couldn’t control his enthusiasm.
I love to see the 1988 highlight of Gibson limping around the bases while pumping his arm. But what of his 1984 war dance as he made his way back to his teammates and the dugout? Those moments in baseball are all too rare. I’m sure the viewers on ESPN would enjoy seeing both home runs back-to-back. To do less is to take away from the remarkable post season career of one of baseball’s most exciting players.
I can’t help but think, however, that the national media eats up the ’88 home run because of the team for whom Gibson played. Unfortunately for Tigers fans, the national media considers the Los Angeles Dodgers more news worthy than the Detroit Tigers. On the eve of the 20th anniverary of Gibson’s home run with the Dodgers, I hope Tigers fans remind the national media that our team’s most memorable home run belongs in the highlight reel.