Kirk Gibson to throw out first pitch for Dodgers on opening day

The Dodgers' Kirk Gibson rounds the bases after hitting a game-winning two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Oakland Athletics in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.
(Rusty Kennedy / Associated Press)

The Dodgers were one victory last fall from preempting the following sentence: It has been 30 years since the Dodgers last won the World Series.

But a championship always is worth celebrating, and so the Dodgers announced Thursday that Kirk Gibson would throw out the ceremonial first pitch on opening day.

The Dodgers also plan to give out Gibson bobbleheads at their second home game.

In addition, the team will help raise money for Parkinson’s disease. Gibson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s two years ago; his foundation is focused on research for treatment and an eventual cure.


“We’re going to be able to help a lot of people,” Gibson said in a statement.

In Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, Gibson hit one of the most memorable home runs in baseball history, hobbling to bat to deliver a pinch-hit, walk-off home run off Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley, and spawning an immortal line from Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully.

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

Gibson and Eckersley memorably revisited the moment two years ago, including the iconic arm pumps Gibson made as he circled the bases.

“There’s a lot said about today’s ballplayers and how they celebrate, Gibson said. “The arm pump was not really like me. It just happened.”

Said Eckersley: “Hooray for you. Too bad for me. It was the ninth inning. You can do whatever you want.”

The Dodgers had not appeared in the World Series from then until last fall, when the likes of Scully, Sandy Koufax and Rachel Robinson returned to Dodger Stadium for the festivities. Gibson declined.

“I don’t think it’s my place,’’ he told Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke. “This is their moment, let them do their thing, this is about them.’’


Now it is Gibson’s moment to return, when the Dodgers open the season March 29, in a national ESPN broadcast, against the rival San Francisco Giants.

“I’m honored to help kick off the Dodgers’ 60th anniversary celebration,” Gibson said in a statement, “and am looking forward to reliving many magical moments at Dodger Stadium.”

And, because you know you want to see that home run one more time, here it is.

Twitter: @BillShaikin