Gibson's blast off Goose a classic
Michigan native drilled three-run shot in Game 5 of '84 Series
As Major League baseball crowned a new home run king, MLB.com is examining the most memorable long ball in each team's history.
Even casual baseball fans have likely seen Kirk Gibson's most memorable home run. Even for non-baseball fans, it's hard not to have witnessed his legendary pinch-hit home run for the Dodgers in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.The image of "Gibby" limping around the bases, with Jack Buck's now famous "I don't believe what I just saw!" call playing in the background has transcended sports and become one of the signature home runs in at least the last 20 years of baseball. But up until that point, fans in Detroit already had a signature homer by which to remember Gibson. His three-run home run in the eighth inning of the series-clinching Game 5 of the 1984 World Series over the Padres is arguably the most memorable home run in the 107-year history of the Tigers. It was his second homer of the game and gave the Tigers an 8-4 lead and the eventual win for their first World Series title since 1968. While the homer to ensure the Tigers' first World Series title in 16 years was dramatic enough on its own, there was a juicy back story so that Gibson's homer could remain in the memories of Detroit fans. Padres closer Goose Gossage had dominated Gibson during his career and pleaded with manager Dick Williams to pitch to Gibson, even with first base unoccupied. Gibson had been 1-for-10 in his career against Gossage, including a popout in the previous game. Williams simply held up four fingers from the dugout, but Gossage convinced Williams to come out to the mound for a visit. The conversation between Williams and Gossage was audible on an audio replay, and Williams asked Gossage, "You mean you're talking about striking him out?" "Yeah," was the only reply from Gossage, a five-time All-Star who had 25 saves and 10 wins during the '84 regular season. Williams allowed the righty Gossage to pitch to the left-handed Gibson, even though right-hander Lance Parrish was on deck. "We all knew that Gibson had a hole, up and in, and that's where Gossage wanted to give it to him," said Tigers Hall of Famer Al Kaline, who also was a television broadcaster for the Tigers in '84.
Hank Greenberg's grand slam in 1945 on the final day of the season that clinched a postseason berth just months after he returned from a tour of duty in World War II.
Larry Herndon's home run in 1987 for the only run of a 1-0 win over the Blue Jays on the final day of the season to clinch the AL East.
Tom Matchick's game-winning, two-run home run in the ninth inning of a 5-4 win over the Orioles on July 19, 1968. It was one of just four career homers for Matchick, who batted .215 in six seasons.
Tim Kirby is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.