In 1988, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Kirk Gibson celebrated one of the most epic home runs in Major League Baseball history. Years later, he’s apologizing for it.
A few years ago, Gibson reportedly apologized to Oakland Athletics pitcher Dennis Eckersley for the way Gibson celebrated the hit, Red Sox announcer Don Orsillo told Chad Finn of the Boston Globe.
Gibson “is unloading . . . to people he wants to apologize to,” recalls Orsillo, “and he apologizes to Eck for showing him up running around the bases. He says, ‘I never got the chance to tell you, I wasn’t showing you up, I was just reacting emotionally.’ Eck says, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. I never thought of that once. You know how many people I pointed at after I struck them out? I would have been dancing going around the bases!’”
Eckersley handled it well, telling Gibson he would have celebrated too.
Given the circumstances, it’s tough to argue with that. Gibson was dealing with injuries to both legs. He was unable to start Game 1 of the 1988 World Series due to those injuries, but was used as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the ninth with a chance to win the game.
After a tough battle with Eckersley, Gibson smacked a walk-off home run to give the Dodgers the win. As he slowly hobbled around the bases, Gibson pumped his fist and yelled before being swarmed by teammates at home plate.
In 2015, Gibson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Orsillo implied that may have been the impetus for Gibson to apologize to Eckersley years after the hit.
Finn’s piece on Eckersley touches on far more than just Gibson, and is definitely worth a read. Eckersley has led quite the interesting life.
As evidenced by Eckersley’s response to Gibson’s apology, Eckersley seems to have a good outlook on things despite the hardships he’s faced.
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