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'Miracle Men' recalls '88 title and the greatest Dodgers moment

Twenty-five years is a hunk of time. For an individual and a team. Amazingly, or painfully, it has been 25 years since the Dodgers last won a World Series.

Not so coincidentally, former "Dodgers Talk" host Josh Suchon has a new book out that examines that 1988 season, “Miracle Men.”

Suchon, who will be signing copies of the book in the right-field store at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday from 5 p.m. until the end of the third inning, has done a marvelous job or recounting that season.

I’ll spare you the now overly used “good read” commentary and just say anybody who remembers or wants to know about that memorable season will devour this book.

My favorite part are the 37 pages devoted to Game 1 of the World Series, the game climaxed by perhaps the most Hollywood moment in baseball history -- the Kirk Gibson home run.

Suchon, a former A’s beat writer, brings excellent perspective from both dugouts, from 25 years ago, and from talking to players, coaches, clubhouse attendants, fans and media all these years later.

Even if you’re familiar with the story, it’s great stuff. From Gibson not being expected to play and icing his two bad legs in the clubhouse, to his wincing with pain as he took swings off a tee, to finally telling now-clubhouse manager Mitch Poole:

“Hey, Mitch, this could be the script.”

I was there for all this, but still loved reading the detail, the buildup, Mike Davis almost not drawing the walk that led to Gibson emerging from the dugout.

“And look who’s coming up,” Vin Scully said on NBC.

Suchon goes through the at-bat against relief ace Dennis Eckersley pitch by pitch. All the early fastballs, the ugly swings, how Gibson was nearly called for batter’s interference when Davis stole second, the full count and Gibson remembering scout Mel Didier saying, “Partner, as sure as I’m standing here breathin’, if Eckersley goes 3-2 on you, you’re goin’ to see a backdoor slider.”

And then, of course, the moment.

“In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened,” Scully said.

Suchon quotes Don Drysdale from Dodger radio, Jack Buck on national radio and players and coaches years later.

And on an afternoon at Dodger Stadium last season, as the home run is replayed on a video board, Vin Scully again speaks for all of us:

“It still gets to you, doesn’t it?”

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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