Fans and collectors who have seen the famous video clip or remember watching it live will get a chance to get in closer touch with Kirk Gibson’s dramatic 1988 World Series home run when SCP Auctions’ catalog goes live next week. As we reported yesterday, Gibson’s jersey, bat and batting helmet are among a collection of items from that famous at-bat against Dennis Eckersley that will be sold next month through SCP Auctions.
His 1988 NL MVP award and his personal 1988 World Series trophy are also part of the auction. It’s not a stretch to say the entire Gibson collection could fetch close to a half million dollars.
Now manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Gibson said during a Tuesday teleconference that he has stored the items, along with many of his personal possessions, in a warehouse. Worried about their safety from fire, theft or other forces, he decided to sell them.
No doubt, the Baseball Hall of Fame would love to have such important pieces of baseball history, but Gibson said he is happy to turn them over to the collectors market, one he claims he has learned to appreciate since his playing days ended.
“It’s a huge environment. I think just as I realized that fans and media are a huge part of the game, the collectors, the people who display it, have museums, really cherish these things on a different level than I do. It’s an important part of our game, keeping our game healthy.”
The auction is set to begin October 27 and end on November 13 with the Gibson items joining over 1,400 offerings, including a Pete Rose “corked” bat, a Mickey Mantle game-worn jersey, T206 Honus Wagner and Babe Ruth memorabilia.
Gibson has autographed all of the items and noted their significance. He says the jersey he was wearing that night hasn’t been washed. The bat bears cleat marks from where he knocked dirt off his spikes while in the batter’s box and marks from both the foul balls he hit and the famous homer.
“There’s so much character in it,” Gibson said of the bat he used against Eckersley, a lighter model.
“If you look at the handle on the end of that bat, there’s an ‘x’ because it was a reject. I really only got it because it was so light, I was hurt, so I started to get that ready,” he said. “The cleat marks at the head of the bat where I hit my shoes, there’s indentations at the beginning of the bat.
“At the end of the bat, it was so deep, there’s really deep indentations, the red ink from the foul balls I hit is on it. You can actually see the spot where I made contact with the ball. It’s preserved very well.”
The ball that landed in the Dodger Stadium stands has never been brought forward. It, too, would likely be a very pricey piece of memorabilia. While authenticating a ball–even with World Series markings–would be extremely difficult, Gibson indicated there could be a key piece of evidence in his warehouse.
In the days following the game, a woman sent him a photo of the spot where the ball landed.
“It hit her high on her inner thigh,” Gibson said. “It was all black and blue, and it was just a picture of where it landed on the young lady’s leg.”