The 1988 World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers kept the celebrations going after the season when the major awards were announced. Orel Hershiser was already named the National League Cy Young and the Dodgers added more hardware on this day in 1988 when outfielder Kirk Gibson won the NL MVP award.
Gibson became the first player to win the award that wasn’t named an All-Star during that season. He became a Dodgers hero in the World Series for his pinch-hit walk-off home run in Game 1 against Oakland Athletics’ closer Dennis Eckersley. On the season, Gibson hit .290 with 25 home runs and 76 RBI in 150 games for Dodgers. He also added 28 doubles and 31 stolen bases to his MVP campaign and was also named an NL Silver Slugger in the outfield. It was the first MVP award for the team since first baseman Steve Garvey won it in 1974.
It was Gibson’s first year with the Dodgers after signing as a free agent in the off-season. He spent his first nine seasons with the Detroit Tigers in the American League and won the World Series with them in 1984. With the Dodgers, Gibson spent three seasons with the team but only played one full season, in 1988. His last two years were injury-plagued before leaving after the 1990 season for the Kansas City Royals. Gibson finished with a .264 average, 42 home runs, 142 RBI and 69 stolen bases in 310 games with the team.
Gibson is the last Dodger to win the MVP award and was on the last team to win the World Series. In his career, Gibson finished with 255 career home runs, 870 RBI, 284 RBI and hit .268 in 1,635 games in 17 seasons. After his retirement, Gibson became a television analyst for FSN Detroit before becoming the Tigers’ bench coach in 2003. He’s currently the manager for the Arizona Diamondbacks and was named Manager of the Year in 2011.