Kirk Gibson and Parkinson's Disease: The impossible has happened

Kirk Gibson and Parkinson's Disease: The impossible has happened

In a year that has been so improbable... the impossible has happened!

It was October 15, 1988. Game one of the World Series between the heavily favored Oakland A's and the underdog Los Angeles Dodgers. It's the bottom of the ninth inning with the A's leading 4-3 on a Grand Slam Home Run by Jose Canseco.  The Dodgers have a man on base with two outs. L.A. manager Tommy LaSorda takes a final shot and brings up a pinch hitter. Coming out of the dugout is the man who will be the MVP of the National League this year. He's also the man who is unable to play because both of his legs are injured. Limping up to home plate is Kirk Gibson.

What happened next is still unreal almost thirty years later.

And as Jack Buck said:
"I don't believe what I just saw."
Like Vin Scully called it in the quote at the top, it was improbable and impossible and yet it happened.

That was Gibson's first and only at bat in that World Series. A few days later the Dodgers won the world championship.

This season is the thirtieth anniversary of the last Dodger title and they celebrated it on opening day by having Gibson throw out the first pitch to former Dodger star pitcher Orel Hershiser, who won the Cy Young Award that season with some remarkable pitching.

I was at the World Series game that October night and a lot has changed since then. I know Parkinson's Disease was the last thing on my mind. I'm not sure I even knew what it was back then. The same thing for Kirk Gibson. And yet we have something in common besides being at Dodger Stadium in October 1988. We both have Parkinson's Disease.

Gibson was diagnosed with PD in 2015 and since then has formed the Kirk Gibson Foundation, which raises money for Parkinson's research and to raise awareness. The Dodger's opening day 50/50 raffle, in which 50% goes to the person with the winning number and the rest goes to a charity, raised over $60,000 for Gibson's foundation. They also auctioned off some limited edition Gibson bobblehead dolls as well as giving money from the tickets sold to the new right field bleacher seats that are dedicated to Gibson. They're in the location where his famous home run landed.

Recently, Gibson was asked if he was tired of seeing his home run on video over and over again for the last thirty years.
Gibson said. “That was a great moment, and I’m proud to be a part of it. That was just me doing my part on a great team, adding a contribution.”

It's thirty years later and Kirk Gibson is still making a contribution...just to a different cause.

 

Related Post: Is there a connection between sports and Parkinson's Disease?
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