Kirk Gibson managed the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2010 to 2014. In 2011, Kirk’s first full season as the team’s manager, he led the Diamondbacks to the National League West Division title, shocking the baseball world. That year, he was named N.L. Manager of the Year. Prior to being named Manager, Kirk served as the bench coach for the DBacks.
In 2003, he was named the Detroit Tigers’ bench coach, and served in that position until the midway point of the 2005 season when he was moved from bench coach to hitting coach, swapping positions with Bruce Fields.
He was a Detroit Tigers television analyst on FSN Detroit for five seasons, from 1998-2002
Kirk spent 17 seasons in the big leagues, 12 of those years with the Detroit Tigers. He also played for the Dodgers, Pirates, and Royals. He won the World Series in 1984 & 1988, was the NL MVP in 1988, won the Silver Slugger Award in 1988, and in 1984 won the ALCS MVP.
Gibson is perhaps best known for his single plate appearance in the 1988 World Series against the Oakland Athletics. With a stomach virus and injuries to both legs sustained during the League Championship Series, Gibson was not expected to play at all. In Game 1, on October 15, 1988 at Dodger Stadium, with the Dodgers trailing by a score of 4–3, Mike Davis on first, and two out in the ninth inning, manager Tommy Lasorda inserted Gibson as a pinch hitter.
Gibson limped up to the plate to face Oakland’s future Hall of Fame closer Dennis Eckersley. Gibson quickly got behind in the count, 0–2, but received two outside pitches and fouled off a pitch to work to a 2–2 count. On the sixth pitch of his at bat, a ball, Davis stole second. With an awkward, almost casual swing, Gibson used pure upper-body strength to smack a 3–2 backdoor slider over the right-field fence. He hobbled around the bases and pumped his fist as his jubilant teammates stormed the field. The Dodgers won the game, 5–4, and would go on to win the World Series, 4–1.
Gibson was born in Pontiac, Michigan, grew up in Waterford, Michigan, and attended Michigan State University where he was an All-American flanker in football. Gibson played only one year of college baseball, but managed to hit .390 with 16 homers and 52 RBIs in 48 games. He was drafted by both the Detroit Tigers baseball team (1st round) and the St. Louis Cardinals (now known as the Arizona Cardinals) football team (7th round), but chose baseball.