Gibson tops Cal on my list

October 28, 2002|by MARK KELLER

Major League Baseball (and MasterCard) asked, "What's your moment?"

My answer - not this one.

No doubt Cal Ripken breaking Lou Gehrig's once untouchable consecutive games played record in 1995 - which was voted by fans as the most memorable moment in baseball history - was a great moment and should be in the Top 5 of any such poll.

'The Streak' helped bring baseball back from its most damaging work stoppage. Ripken, one of the most beloved players who ever played the game, put baseball on his back and put it back in a positive light.

But is it the No. 1 moment of all time? I don't think so.

For me, nothing can top Kirk Gibson's pinch-hit home run for the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. It just doesn't get any more fairy tale-like than that.


I saw Gibson's homer again a couple days before the memorable moments were revealed on Wednesday night and it still gives me goosebumps.

Gibson limps to the plate. He's almost unable to stay in his stance because his hamstrings is hurting him so badly.

Then, as the L.A. 'faithful' are heading out of the parking lot, he crushes a home run off Oakland's Dennis Eckersley that starts the Dodgers on their way to a 4-1 series win over the mighty A's.

Add Jack Buck's call to the drama ("This is gonna be a home run. Unbelievable! I don't believe what I just saw!") and you've got an all-time classic.

A lot of fans thought the same as I did, and Gibson's homer finished ninth on the list.

Another moment that should have ranked higher was Nolan Ryan's 7th no-hitter, which finished 10th in the voting.

Do you realize only 24 pitchers have thrown more than one no-hitter in their careers? And that Hideo Nomo is the only active player with two no-hitters? This is a record that might never be broken.

For a Pete Rose fan like myself, I couldn't help hoping that somehow, someway, his breaking Ty Cobb's all-time hits record would be voted No. 1 and we'd all get to see Bud Selig squirming in his seat once again.

Still, No. 6 was higher than I expected to see Rose.

For me, Ripken's moment is right up there with the rest - Aaron's 715th homer, Mc-Gwire's 62nd, Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier.

I just don't know that it belongs ahead of them.

But I'm sure that Gibson's dramatic home run - a homer that carried every bit of the drama that Bobby Thomson and Bill Mazeroski's home runs did - should indeed have finished ahead of Ripken's Iron Man streak.

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