Kirk Gibson in 2011. Photo by Mwinog2777 (Own workmy work, mark winograd) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons.

Kirk Gibson, who will forever be a Los Angeles Dodgers hero for belting an unlikely game-winning home run in the first game of the 1988 World Series, announced Tuesday he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

“I have faced many different obstacles in my life, and have always maintained a strong belief that no matter the circumstances, I could overcome those obstacles,” Gibson said in a statement to the Detroit Free Press. “While this diagnosis poses a new kind of challenge for me, I intend to stay true to my beliefs.

“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,” he said.

Gibson, 57, is a color commentator on Detroit Tigers broadcasts on Fox Sports Detroit. He won the World Series in 1984 with the Tigers. He was the National League MVP in 1988 with the Dodgers.

Gibson retired as a player in 1995, but joined the Tigers as a coach in 2003. He moved to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007 as a bench coach, then took over as the team’s interim manager in 2010, and was given the job full-time the next year. He managed the Diamondbacks until September 2014.

Although he spent most of his career as a Detroit Tiger, Gibson will forever be known for his 1988 World Series home run, which he belted over the Dodger Stadium wall despite a pulled hamstring, bad knee and a stomach virus. Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda sent Gibson in to bat, even though he wasn’t expected to play at all in the Series.

After he powered the ball over the fence, Gibson hobbled around the bases with the winning run, pumping his fist as Lasorda and exuberant teammates poured onto the field.

The Dodgers went on to win the World Series over the Oakland A’s.

— City News Service

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