October 01, 2009

This Dude Was Clutch

Gibson in the '80s
Originally uploaded by Rick Rock Radio
Kirk Gibson may have been arrogant. He may have been a jerk. He never liked the fans. He once said to me when I asked for an autograph, "I'm workin'." I accepted that answer because he really was working ...

He was clutch, though.

Anytime you needed a base hit, Gibby got it for you.

Sure, he might have struck out on three straight pitches down the heart of the plate a few times ... but, when you needed a hit. He would do it.

I know that some of his former players on the Tigers referred to him as "two swings" for his home run in '84 in the World Series and the one hit later for the Dodgers in the '88 Series. The paper never said which players made the comments, but the article did mention it when Gibby was fired in '05.

Greg Eno on his blog "Out of Bounds," suggested, "As for Gibson, he wasn’t all that well-liked, or even respected, by certain segments of the Tigers clubhouse last season. Whispers arose that he was derisively nicknamed “Two Swings” by the internal detractors, a reference to his two famous World Series homers, off Goose Gossage and Dennis Eckersley. Maybe he has mellowed some. When I spoke to him in September about a possible feature story for MCS Magazine, he was soft-spoken but still fiercely loyal to Trammell, his old boss."

Gibby was indeed intense as a player. As a coach, he was more personable and approachable. I'd like to see him get a managing gig because I think he would make a good manager. We'll see what happens.

But, the dude was clutch. No doubt about it.


Phil Lynch said...

Clutch is huge! Polanco now.

Fun post! Rick, I started a blog for people to leave Tiger Stadium stories, b/c I thought people might like to.

We'll see. If you want to leave a story go to tigerstadiumstories.blogspot.com and leave a comment to the one post.

Tonight they clinch, i think.

Phil Lynch said...

I remember also, when he was our bench coach -- can you imagine being a player who did something stupid -- get picked off or not run real fast to first -- then have to go back to the dugout and face Gibson?!

Trammell would say, well, he maybe could have done more in that situation.

Gibby would simply eat you.