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Murray: It could happen only in Hollywood

Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Kirk Gibson pulls a Roy Hobbs

ESPN Classic presents Battle Lines, a series of one-hour journeys, hosted by Rich Eisen, that chronicle the greatest sports events in history. Each episode will focus on the plays, the personalities and the perspectives that have made these events so momentous.

Battle Lines
Dodgers-A's - Gibson's home run
Friday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN

Friday, Oct. 19
All times Eastern
7 p.m. - Battle Lines:
Dodgers-A's - Gibson's homer
In Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, Kirk Gibson hobbles from the clubhouse with an injured leg at the request of Dodger skipper Tommy Lasorda to pinch-hit for pitcher Alejandro Pena. Facing Oakland A's closer Dennis Eckersley, Gibson, on a 3-2 count, hits a two-run home run to right field to win the game.

Classic moment
Oct. 15, 1988: It could only happen in Hollywood. Life imitates the movies (see "The Natural") when Kirk Gibson pulls a Roy Hobbs. For most of Game 1 of the World Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers' injured star is in the trainer's room, "sitting in a tub of ice like a broken-down racehorse," as Los Angeles Times columnist Jim Murray says.

It doesn't appear as if Gibson, who has a sprained ligament in his right knee and lingering soreness from a strained left hamstring, will play. Oakland relief ace Dennis Eckersley, protecting a 4-3 lead (courtesy of Jose Canseco's first career grand slam), retires the first two Dodgers in the bottom of the ninth. But Eckersley, who walked only 11 batters all season in compiling 45 saves, issues a pass to pinch-hitter Mike Davis.

Out of the dugout limps Gibson, batting for Alejandro Pena. The count runs full. Eckersley wants to throw a fastball, but acquiesces to catcher Ron Hassey, who signals for a slider. Gibson, using virtually one hand, turns on the pitch and bashes it over the right-field wall to give the Dodgers a stunning 5-4 victory. Gibson pumps his arms rounding the bases as Dodger Stadium explodes.

The Dodgers will win the Series in five games, during which Gibson will not bat again.

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