The Athletic Reporter
September 12, 2005 Sports News the Way You Want It. Completely Made Up. Issue 127
Kirk Gibson Shows Up, Ruins Dennis Eckersley's Hall of Fame Induction
Originally posted 7/27/2004

Former Dodger Kirk Gibson (foreground) runs around pumping his fist while newly inducted Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley (background, right) tries to ignore him
COOPERSTOWN, NY - New Hall of Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley's induction ceremony, which took place on Sunday when the relief ace was welcomed into the elite group of baseball greats along with longtime Milwaukee Brewer Paul Molitor, was marred by the presence of old Eckersley nemesis Kirk Gibson, who distracted fans and upstaged Eckersley throughout the afternoon.

Gibson, now the bench coach for the Detroit Tigers, hit one of baseball's most famous home runs off of Eckersley in the ninth inning of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. Eckersley and the heavily-favored Oakland Athletics went on to lose the series to Gibson's Los Angeles Dodgers in five games.

"I was spiraling out of control personally," Eckersley, a recovering alcoholic who put his life back together and regained his Hall of Fame form after joining Oakland in 1987, said during his induction speech. "I knew I had come to a crossroads in my life. With the grace of God, I got sober and I saved my life."

At that point Gibson, who surprised many by his presence and by the fact that he was wearing his old Dodgers uniform, shouted, "yeah, and you should have saved that backdoor slider for a different hitter!"

The crowd laughed and applauded at Gibson's joke, and Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson stood up and shouted, "Ohhh, snap!"

Gibson then began running around in front of the stage where the induction ceremony was taking place, limping and pumping his fist energetically just as he had done while he rounded the bases following his 1988 home run. "Hey Dennis!," Gibson shouted. "Imagine how far I would have hit that ball of I hadn't had two bad knees!"

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