October 15, 2013


Woodson Recalls Gibson's Heroics

By Sean Ryan

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder

sean@collegebaseballinsider.com @collbaseball


Twenty-five years ago tonight, a hobbled Kirk Gibson limped to the plate and made baseball history, hitting a game-winning homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth off Oakland shutdown closer Dennis Eckersley to give Los Angeles a Game 1 World Series win.


Propelled by the magic provided by Gibson, the Dodgers went on to win the 1988 World Series – the last time they’ve been world champions.  


Tracy Woodson, entering his first season as the head baseball coach at the University of Richmond, was on that Dodgers team and shares his reflections with CollegeBaseballInsider.com.  


“I had pinch-hit in the fifth inning so I was the only one wearing a blue jacket because it was a little cool that night. Bob Costas had come down in the dugout around the eighth inning for the post-game interviews and kept asking where Gibson was.

“We finally began hearing balls being hit up the runway to the clubhouse in a cage and we knew who it was. I knew for a fact that there was no way he was going to give it a shot. He did have two bad legs and could hardly walk. I remember before the game how he said he was not going to be on the field for pre-game introductions. I am thinking: You are crazy. That is one of the greatest parts of the World Series… introductions of all players and personnel before Game 1. Gibson had been a part of a World Series before, and it was not that important to him, but for me it was the greatest thing that had ever happened in my sports life.

“When he stepped out of the dugout to get to the on-deck circle I don’t believe a person was sitting in their seat. The ovation he got was unbelievable. He had done a lot of things offensively for this team all year long. Why was this going to be any different? What I was watching was the greatest moment in baseball history. The home run he hit will never be matched. He would not get another at-bat the entire World Series. He hit the home run off the best reliever (Dennis Eckersley) in baseball. Bottom of the ninth, down one run and he hits a walk-off, which at that time the term walk-off was not even used.

“I know there have been a lot of great moments in playoffs and World Series games, but I have not seen any others first-hand. I have never been to a stadium where the crowd was still standing and cheering 20 minutes after it happened. I have had wonderful experiences throughout my professional life but there is none bigger than winning a World Series and watching the events unravel with the Gibson home run. I still get chill bumps when I see it being replayed.”


(photo courtesy of UR Media Relations)