Kirk Gibson, who will forever be a Los Angeles Dodgers hero for belting an unlikely game-winning home run in the first game of the 1988 World Series, announced Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
The 1988 National League MVP was fired in September as manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks after four-plus seasons. He now calls Tigers games for Fox Sports Detroit, but he had not been in the broadcast booth since opening day April 6 while undergoing tests.
"I have faced many different obstacles in my life, and have always maintained a strong belief that no matter the circumstances, I could overcome those obstacles," he said in a statement through the network. "While this diagnosis poses a new kind of challenge for me, I intend to stay true to my beliefs. With the support of my family and friends, I will meet this challenge with the same determination and unwavering intensity that I have displayed in all of my endeavors in life. I look forward to being back at the ballpark as soon as possible."
Although he spent most of his career as a Detroit Tiger, the 57-year-old Gibson had one of the most memorable moments in baseball history with his limping, pinch-hit home run in the ninth inning of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series for the Dodgers.
Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda sent Gibson in to bat, even though he wasn't expected to play at all in the Series because he had a pulled hamstring, a bad knee and a stomach virus. After he powered the ball over the right-field fence, Gibson hobbled around the bases with the winning run, pumping his fist as Lasorda and exuberant teammates poured onto the field.
The Dodgers went on to win the World Series over the Oakland A's.
Gibson also won a championship in 1984 with the Tigers, where he played 12 of his 17 major league seasons.