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Kirk Gibson’s Inspirational Hit
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Kirk Gibson’s Inspirational Hit

It was something that would seem unbelievable in a Hollywood movie.  Bottom of the 9th, 3-2 count, down by one run, game one of the World Series.  The best screenwriter in Hollywood wouldn’t even put that in a script because it would seem too cliche.  But this was real life.  This was the 1988 World Series, Oakland Athletics versus Los Angeles Dodgers, Northern California versus Southern California.

Down one run, an injured Kirk Gibson stood at the plate.  It had been three days since he swung a bat, ravaged by knee and hamstring injuries.  He could be the hero or he could just be another strikeout for top notch closer Dennis Eckersley.  It might not have seemed that important, it was just game one out of seven.  But it was much more than that, the A’s were heavily favored and the game was in LA.  The Dodgers could not afford to drop one at home; momentum was on the line.

As Eckersley prepared to deliver the payoff pitch, Gibson remembered something one of the coaches had told him earlier that day, “If Eckersley goes 3 and 2 on you, you’re goin’ to see a backdoor slider.”  Call it luck, call it a good memory, but Gibson swung for the fences on that 3-2 pitch and guessed correctly.  Eckersley’s backdoor slider was sent in the outfield stands and Kirk Gibson hobbled around the bases, barely able to run.  The Dodgers took game one and took the momentum to win the series in five games.

Newport Beach, California born and raised, Alex Crawford currently attends Oregon State University where he is majoring in New Media Communications.  Alex is the host of a sports talk radio show on the OSU radio station KBVR and someday hopes to have a career in film or television.

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