Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Will Kirk GIbson Be the Next Manager of the Tigers?

I'm not trying to push Jim Leyland out of town here, but I just wonder if Gibby might be his successor. Today, Gibson announced that he's donated a bunch of memorabilia from the 1988 World Series to his foundation. The items will be auctioned off, and Gibson's foundation benefits two Michigan high schools and Michigan State University. Included in the memorabilia are the bat, helmet and uniform used to in Gibson's historic 1988 World Series game 1 homer. According to an article by Jason Beck, Gibby plans to hold onto his Tigers memorabilia, for now. In referring to the Tigers items, Gibson said, "I just have my reasons. We'll just leave it at that."

You know what? I think those reasons are that the 1984 Tigers, and the Tigers in general are very dear to Gibson's heart. He's from Michigan, he came up in the Tigers system, he's lived here forever. I know for a fact that his feelings were very hurt when he and the rest of Trammell's staff were rather unceremoniously dumped in 2005. I heard him in an interview on sports talk radio last year. At one point, GIbson admitted something like he hadn't been following the Red Wings, and the host joked that maybe Gibson would lose his Michigan card over that one. Gibson retorted that he thought he'd already lost it. He was no doubt referencing the 2005 ouster. It was a raw deal for Tram, Gibby and the rest of the crew. They were brought into a losing proposition, and management knew it. The team was garbage. They needed something to improve the gate, to garner some good pub. Well, the Bless You Boys from 1984 fit the bill. Tram was underexperienced and proved himself unable to handle a big league clubhouse. Gibson had no coaching experience, while Lance Parrish had spent some time coaching in the minor leagues and with the Tigers previously.

Things are different now. Gibson has spent the past years as bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks. This year, after the mid-season firing of A.J. Hinch, Gibson was named interim manager. I hoped the team would give him a fair shot at retaining the job. Indeed they did, removing the interim from his job title for the 2011 season. I was very happy for Gibson to get the opportunity to manage. I will follow him with interest, and with an eye toward the future.

Like I said, I think Gibson is hanging onto to the Tigers stuff because it's still close to his heart. I think he would jump at the chance to manage the Tigers. Nostalgia notwithstanding, I hope he gets to make that leap. I think he'll make a fine manager. He's fiery, a good motivator, and is very committed to anything he sets out to do. Kirk Gibson, Detroit Tigers Manager. That has a very satisfying ring to it.


Greg Eno said...

I agree, Jennifer. I think Gibby will make a fine manager---for someone. If it happens in Detroit, even better. The only negative I see is that he may not be able to abide today's ballplayer. And whether he has the skills needed to handle a pitching staff remains to be seen.

But I hope he does great in AZ!! I just hope his probable losing record there doesn't put other teams off.

Don't forget, Joe Torre was saddled with some bad Mets teams when he started out. No one remembers that now.

OldEnglishD said...

Very good point about handling a pitching staff. We shall see!