Fox Sports Detroit has announced some sad news regarding Kirk Gibson this afternoon. The legendary outfielder for the Detroit Tigers and current co-color analyst for FSD broadcasts has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.
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Many fans were excited during the offseason when the team and network announced that Gibby would return to the team and serve in a color commentary analyst rotation along with Rod Allen and Jack Morris. Gibson had appeared in just one game this season thus far–Opening Day. Meanwhile Morris called the three games in Pittsburgh earlier this month and Allen has called the remainder of the schedule.
Fans also reported that Gibby, 57, seemed “off” in the booth on Opening Day and seemed distant and not as energetic as they remembered from his days on the field with the Tigers from 1979 to 1987 and 1993 to 1995, winning the World Series in Detroit in 1984.
He was also more subdued than his days in the Detroit broadcast booth along with Josh Lewin from 1998 to 2001 and Mario Impemba in 2002 before becoming a coach on Alan Trammell‘s Tigers’ staff in 2003.
Despite the setback, Gibby is ready to battle–though we expect nothing less from him.
He issued the following statement:
"“I have faced many different obstacles in my life, and have always maintained a strong belief that no matter the circumstances, I could overcome these obstacles. While the 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 my endeavors in life. I look forward to being back at the ballpark as soon as possible.”"
A native of the state, Gibson has had a long career on and off the field in baseball, but first became known to Michganders in the late 1970’s as a star wide receiver for the Michigan State Spartans. He was drafted by the Tigers in the first round and also by the then St. Louis Cardinals in NFL but choose to play for his hometown Tigers.
After leaving Detroit the first time after the 1987 season, Gibson had a signature World Series moment when he limped in with an injury to pinch hit for the Los Angeles Dodgers and hit a walk-off homer off previously unbeatable Dennis Eckersley to win Game 1. Although he did not play again in the series, he was named World Series MVP.
Of course Tigers’ fans feel his homer off Goose Gossage that clinched the 1984 World Series was the better shot.
He played two seasons in L.A. before spending one year each in Kansas City and Pittsburgh before coming home to finish his career. Gibby had a solid couple of seasons in Detroit in 1993 and 1994 but retired after struggling early in 1995.
After his coaching stint in Detroit, he went to Arizona and served as a bench coach from 2007 to 2010 before becoming manager. He won the NL West Division in 2011 with the Diamondbacks.
Motor City Bengals joins Tigers’ fans everywhere in wishing Kirk Gibson the best and we look forward to hearing him call games again as soon as he’s ready.