Longtime big leaguer and recent Diamondbacks skipper Kirk Gibson has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, per a FOX Sports Detroit announcement.
Gibson, 57, was relieved of his duties with Arizona late last year as part of the team’s broad change in leadership. He joined the Tigers broadcast booth for this year, but had missed much of the early season.
Gibson’s relationship with Detroit stretches back to his introduction to professional baseball, which came with the Tigers organization. Over twelve seasons with the Tigers, covering the beginning and end of his career, Gibson slashed a robust .273/.354/.480.
Oddly, Gibson never made an All-Star team in spite of his excellent production, though he was tabbed the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1988 with the Dodgers — his finest overall season. Of course, that was also the year that he hit his legendary pinch-hit World Series home run on two bad legs.
After his retirement as a player, Gibson ultimately returned to the uniform as a coach and then manager. After taking over the helm for the D’backs in the middle of 2010, he led the club to a surprising 94-win campaign in the following season. After two straight .500 efforts and a rough 2014, Gibson lost his job, though he was commended for doing “an admirable job under difficult circumstances” by chief baseball officer Tony La Russa.
As both a player and manager, Gibson has always been renowned for his intensity. He cited that trait in a statement: “With the support of my family and friends, I will meet this challenge with the same determination and unwavering intensity that I have displayed in all of my endeavors in life. I look forward to being back at the ballpark as soon as possible.”
MLBTR joins all those around the game in extending its best wishes to Kirk and his family, friends, and colleagues.