Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Remembering the 1988 World Series Game 1

Twenty years ago, Roy Hobbs jumped from the big screen to our living room TV screens.

Instead of watching the stadium lights explode and cascade around the NY Knights, baseball fans witnessed an injured star get mobbed at home plate after hobbling his way around the bases. The winning team's jersey said "Dodgers" instead of "Knights," manager Pop Fisher was replaced by Tommy Lasorda and Roy Hobbs was brought to life by Kirk Gibson.

During the NLCS against the NY Mets, the Dodgers' Kirk Gibson aggravated his previous leg injuries which kept him out of the starting line-up. Instead of facing Oakland A’s ace Dave Stewart during the first game of the World Series, Gibson was taking his cuts off of a hitting tee with the help of LA's starting pitcher, Orel Hershiser.

In the bottom of the 9th inning of Game 1, with 2 outs, Tommy Lasorda made the 2nd biggest surprise of the night; the biggest surprise had yet to come. Lasorda called for Kirk Gibson to rise from the bowels of Chavez Ravine and become "The Natural."

Kirk Gibson would have to face the best closing pitcher in Major League Baseball, Dennis Eckersley. It seemed this storybook ending would have the same sad finish as the book version of the "The Natural,” ending with a strike-out. But the big screen version began to show life when Gibson, without a good leg to stand on, fouled off pitch-after-pitch just trying to stay alive against the mighty "Eck."

Finally Gibson hit a back-door slider into the right field seats of Dodger Stadium. Many of us have a hard time believing how young we were when Gibson made history, but no one forgets where they were he rounded second base.

Gibson won Game 1 and his Dodger teammates carried him for 3 more World Series victories. The LA Dodgers beat the mighty Oakland Athletics to become the 1988 World Series Champions.

Remembering Game 1 of the 1988 World Series reminds us that perfect Hollywood endings don't always occur at the expense of a movie ticket. Sometimes they can happen when we least expect it, late at night, in the crisp October air that surrounds the World Series.


LaLoosh said...

When watching the replay of the homerun look past the bleachers when the ball is going into the stands. You will see tail lights from cards leaving. Imagine telling your kids that you were at the game with one the most famous homeruns ever. "Yeah I was at the game BUT I was in my car LEAVING when Gibson hit his HR. Now there is a memory that will last forever.

JRJ said...

That's hilarious. I'll have to watch that highlight again.

I remember leaving an Eagles/Vikings game in the 3rd Qtr. only to come home and see the Vikings made a huge 4th comeback with Wade Wilson. I think that was around 1985.