08/08/07 12:05 AM ET
Gibson's heroics top Dodgers lore
Game 1 walk-off shot in 1988 Series a franchise staple
By Jayson Addcox / MLB.com
According to Dodgers clubhouse manager Mitch Poole, Gibson heard legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully say that he would not play in the game. The comments played a large role in Gibson's decision to bat."I don't remember the exact words that Vin Scully said, but it triggered him when he was in the training room. He decided he wanted to hit, and he asked me to get his uniform," Poole said. "Gibby just said he wanted me to set up for the back-door slider so I did on a tee and we started tossing the ball in the cage. He was hurting bad. Every time he'd swing you could here it." In the meantime, the Dodgers were down to their last out after Eckersley retired the first two batters he faced. In the clubhouse, Gibson continued to swing. Everyone in the stadium, including Lasorda and A's manager Tony La Russa, were under the assumption that Gibson was unavailable. "Right in the middle of swinging, he [Gibson] stopped and told me 'You know, Mitch, this could be the script,'" Poole said. "Then he told me to go tell Tommy he could hit, so I start running down the tunnel screaming, and Tommy comes wobbling over, and I told him Gibby could hit." After pinch-hitter Mike Davis drew a walk Lasorda summoned Gibson out of the clubhouse, and the fans erupted. Gibson limped to the plate using his bat as a cane. After falling behind in the count, Gibson fouled off two Eckersley pitches, creating a full count. Then, as Scully put it, "In a season that has been improbable, the impossible has happened," Gibson drilled a back-door slider into the right-field bleachers, giving the Dodgers the dramatic win. "I was at the bottom of the ramp," Poole said. "It was weird. I haven't told too many people this, but when I was standing down at the bottom, kind of like a chill came over me, and I actually was thinking about a ball going into right field." Gibson's remarkable home run was more than a game-winning homer; it was what catapulted the Dodgers past the seemingly invincible A's, four games to one. "The fans couldn't believe it; they stood there even after the game was over. They just stood there," Lasorda said. "It didn't only just win that game but it paralyzed that team for the rest of the series, because their talent was so much better than our talent."
Jayson Addcox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.