(Photo by Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images)
The Detroit Tigers today announced that Kirk Gibson, who played 12 years for the Tigers and was a member of the 1984 World Series championship team, has been named a special assistant to Tigers Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager, Al Avila.
Does that mean that Gibby is out of the broadcast booth? Nope. Tigers’ spokesman Chad Crunk says he’ll still be broadcasting for Fox Sports Detroit. Gibson and Jack Morris will rotate as color commentators with new play-by-play announcer Matt Shepard on the TV broadcasts. The new team was announced two weeks ago.
In his role, the 61 year old Gibson will assist in on-field duties at both the Major League and Minor League levels, be involved in all personnel meetings, travel throughout the Minor League system and participate in community relations.
“We’re fortunate to have so many Tigers legends playing key roles in our front office, such as Al Kaline, Alan Trammell, Willie Horton and Jim Leyland, and Gibby fits into that group as well as anyone,” Avila said. “He comes in with an already established presence in our clubhouse as a broadcaster, and we’re looking forward to having him around more during Spring Training in Lakeland, while he’ll be working with Major and Minor League players across our organization.”
“I’m thrilled for this opportunity to work with Al and the baseball operations department who are building a solid foundation for the future success of this franchise,” Gibson said. “Spring Training is right around the corner, and I’m really looking forward to be back in Lakeland working with everyone to bring a World Series championship back to the City of Detroit. I remember watching the ’68 team as a sixth grader, participating in the ’84 world championship and I’m excited for the opportunity to contribute to the next championship team.”
Gibson has a lot of experience as a player, manager and coach. He worked in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, first as the bench coach from 2007-10 and then as the club’s manager from 2010-14. He was named the BBWAA National League Manager of the Year in 2011 after leading the Diamondbacks to the NL Western Division title. Gibson began his coaching career as a bench coach for the Tigers from 2003-05 under manager Alan Trammell.
Gibson played 17 seasons at the Major League level, including 12 years with the Tigers, and hit .268/.352/.463 with 985 runs scored, 260 doubles, 54 triples, 255 home runs and 870 RBI in 1,635 games. He was a member of Detroit’s 1984 World Series championship team, including earning Most Valuable Player honors in the 1984 American League Championship Series. Gibson also earned National League MVP honors in 1988 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, helping the team to the World Series title that year.
Originally drafted by the Tigers with the 12th overall pick in the 1978 MLB First–Year Player Draft, Gibson was a two-sport star at Michigan State University, where he was an All-American in both baseball and football for the Spartans in 1978. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on December 5, 2017.
Gibson has also been active in the community, launching the Kirk Gibson Foundation in 1996 by awarding partial scholarships to men and women at Clarkston and Waterford Kettering High Schools in honor and memory of his parents. He has now expanded the mission of the foundation to promote cooperation, collaboration and teamwork in finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease. More information can be found at www.kirkgibsonfoundation.org.
Gibson and his wife, JoAnn, have four children, Cam, Colleen, Kirk and Kevin. Cam was drafted by the Tigers in the fifth round of the 2015 MLB First–Year Player Draft and split the 2018 season between Single A Lakeland and Double A Erie, while Kevin plays professional hockey for the Fort Wayne Komets in the ECHL.