"I was in the locker room listening to Vin [Scully] on the TV saying, 'Kirk Gibson will not be hitting tonight,' and I just said, 'My ass.' I really had no business going up there to the plate. But, you know, it's what I live for. I felt like my teammates wanted me to do it."
-- Kirk Gibson
"In a year that has been so improbable... the impossible has happened!"
-- Vin Scully
Kirk Gibson's 1988 World Series home run occurred in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Gibson, pinch hitting for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the bottom of the ninth inning, with injuries to both legs, hit a two-run walk-off home run off the Oakland Athletics' closer, Dennis Eckersley that won Game 1 for the Dodgers by a score of 5-4.
The Dodgers were considered the underdogs throughout the 1988 postseason, first to the New York Mets in the NLCS, then to the A's in the World Series. Gibson, who was not expected to play due to injuries in both legs sustained during the NLCS, was surprisingly inserted as a pinch hitter with the Dodgers trailing 4-3 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. Gibson's home run was his only plate appearance of the series, and started the Dodgers' defeat of the A's, four games to one, securing their sixth World Series title.
The fate of the home-run ball is unknown. That's quite surprising, considering the value of the other items from the game which have been auctioned on the open market since. The bat used by Gibson went for over half a million dollars in 2010, becoming at the time the second-most expensive bat ever, with the jersey selling for $303,000, and even the helmet went for $154,000. Gibson didn't seem to care much about the artefacts. "I just felt like maybe it's time to let the people who do like to collect things and display them buy them and then take some of the proceeds and fund my foundation. I want to make sure those scholarship funds go on forever in my parents' names."
Coincidentally, watching the home-run from the opposing dugout was someone who stands alongside Gibson in the Diamondbacks trenches: then A's outfielder, Don Baylor, who is now the Arizona hitting coach. Baylor had only one plate-appearance in the series, striking out. Still, he became one of the few players to appear in the World Series three consecutive years, with three different clubs (the Red Sox, Twins and A's).
The incident cropped up a lot when the D-backs played their last series at Dodger Stadium this year, but even now, Gibson seemed somewhat bored with telling the story yet again. However, it did inspire the reaction to one of the most famous home-runs in Diamondbacks' history: as shown below, Ryan Roberts' fist-pump celebration as he rounded the bases after a walk-off grand-slam in September 2011 - against those same Dodgers.