We all know the story: Kirk Gibson was coming up to bat against ace closer Goose Gossage in the eighth inning in Game 5 of the 1984 World Series with runners on second and third and one out. Gibby had already hit a home run in the early innings of the game and had been dominant throughout the post season. The common sense thing to do would be to intentionally walk him.
The call came from the San Diego Padres dugout from manager Dick Williams as he held up four fingers to catcher Terry Kennedy. As Kennedy gave the walk sign to to Gossage, the Goose defiantly shook his head. Because of his prior success against Gibson, Gossage was convinced he could stike him out with ease.
A conference took place on the mound between Williams, Kennedy and Gossage. Williams knew it was a huge risk to pitch to Gibson, but he gave his star reliever the benefit of the doubt. Thanks to the managers on both teams being microphoned throughout the game, the drama of the moment has been captured in all its glory. There is no way to rewrite this moment’s history.
Two pitches later, Gossage’s fastball was in the rightfield upper deck — and Gibson was dancing around the bases in a warrior-like ritual. In an instance, the World Series was over — at least psychologically. There’s no way the Padres could recover from such a dramatic blow.
Below is video footage taken in February 2007 after Gossage’s acceptance into the National Baseball Hall of Fame had been formally announced. During the interview, Gossage tells his side of the story about the famous showdown with Gibson.