Gibson

We have come to the conclusion of our poll where we asked which was the best Legendary Scoreboard Game we have featured.  The votes are in and in a close race the Kirk Gibson walk off home run off of Dennis Eckersley in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series just edged out Don Larsen’s 1956 Perfect Game.

Here is the breakdown:

Game Teams Notes Votes
World Series Game 1 1988 A’s versus Dodgers Gibson Walkoff 31%
World Series Game 5 1956 Dodgers versus Yankees Larsen’s Perfect 28%
World Series Game 6 1986 Red Sox versus Mets Buckner’s Boot 19%
World Series Game 6 1993 Phillies versus Blue Jays Carter’s Walkoff 14%
World Series Game 4 1996 Yankees versus Braves Leyritz Homer 8%


There might have been some last minute persuasion as a Baseballisms fan, Jim Bawbe, submitted a recollection of actually attending that game …

Thanks to everyone who participated!

Now it’s time to put up a new poll.  There are so many things that would be interesting to know, we had a hard time deciding what to ask.  After some serious brainstorming we have decided to ask your favorite Fan Ballpark Tradition.

So baseball fans, which tradition would you most like to participate in?

Wrigley Field – Cubs Fans throw back an opponent home run ball

Yankee Stadium – Yankee Fans conduct the player Roll Call

Ebbetts Field – Dodger fans march as the Brooklyn Dodger Sym-Phony Band

Fenway Park – Red Sox Royal Rooters sing Tessie

Angel Stadium – Fans break out Rally Monkeys and Thundersticks

Please vote early and vote often in the Poll in the right hand column.  We know there are more that we could have included so please let us know in the comments any others that are worthy of a mention.

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Baseball Fan Jim Babwe’s email submission to Baseballisms.com reprinted with permission. Long time fans of this site will remember that this was the first Legendary Game that we highlighted when we launched in 2008.

Saturday, October 15, 1988: World Series, Game 1

At approximately 1:00 PM, I received a phone call from a friend who asked me whether I’d be interested in buying two tickets for that afternoon’s game at Dodger Stadium. He said they were available at face value, but added that I would need to drive to a hotel near Los Angeles International Airport to pick them up.

I said, “Yes, I want the tickets.”

As soon as I hung up the phone, I picked it up again to call a friend who I knew would want to come along. No answer. I left a message on the machine.

I called another friend. No answer. I left a message on the machine.

Another call. Same result.

I don’t recall exactly how many phone calls I made–maybe two or three more. Even though it was a Saturday, nobody was home, and because I didn’t want to be late for the game, I started to leave.

Before I reached the front door, the phone rang.

The caller was a college friend who I hadn’t seen for a few years or so. He had moved to the Midwest, but was in town on business and wanted to get together for lunch or dinner.

I said, “Do you want to go to the game at Dodger Stadium today?”

Knowing  he was (still is) a lifelong baseball fan, I knew the answer before he said yes.

I looked at the clock, knew we’d be cutting it close, so I told him I’d pick up the tickets and meet him at the Stadium.

I drove to LAX, picked up the tickets, drove to Dodger Stadium, met my friend, and on the way to the turnstiles, caught up on general stuff.  I told him the story about not being able to find anyone for the second ticket.

We agreed about the good timing.

1988 World Series–Game 1. Most baseball fans know how this game ended. Gibson hobbles to the plate, hits a 3-2 pitch over the right field wall. Gibson limps around the bases. Dodgers win. People who left in the 7th or 8th inning “to beat the traffic” curse themselves for the rest of their lives.

For me, there’s another unforgettable part of that game’s dramatic conclusion.

As the tension mounted and the count went full, picture a capacity crowd (minus at least a few dozen who got a head start toward the freeways)–shouting, yelling, whistling, screaming, clapping. Oakland’s ace reliever, Dennis Eckersley, delivers the 3-2 pitch. Gibson swings.

One of these days, I’m going to use a stopwatch to see how much time elapsed from the moment of contact–that crack of the bat–and the moment it descended like a crazy dream into some lucky fan’s hands there in the right field pavilion.

However many seconds passed (more than one, maybe close to four) an almost unbelievable silence (quick as it was) replaced the noise. It was as if everyone there–witnessing the almost inconceivable–simultaneously inhaled and wiped the sound away until, just as suddenly, the subsequent release of air launched a collective shout of joyful disbelief that transformed itself into at least a half hour of continuous shouting, yelling, whistling, screaming, clapping, and cheering. As we picked up our programs and left our seats, as we walked down the stairs, out to the parking lot, as we drove onto the freeway, and away from Dodger Stadium that evening, the cheering continued.

Theologians may point out technicalities to dispute the point. Skeptics and pessimists may dismiss the point as trivial or irrelevant in terms of the broader scope of Life on Earth.  But because the memory reminds me how the will to succeed can prevail over seemingly insurmountable obstacles, and that no matter how rarely miracles occur, what I saw in the bottom of the ninth inning on October 15, 1988 showed me that miracles can and do happen. You just have to keep yourself ready for them.  Grab a bat, step into the box, and take your best cut.

Do you have a story like Jim’s? We would love to hear from you! Send a Tweet to @baseballisms with a quick message, send us an email or visit our Upload page with a video message.  We look forward to growing a community of fans interested in the poetry of the game of baseball!

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