Bay Area vs. Los Angeles Rivalry: Ranking the Top 10 Moments of All-Time

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(Photo: LA Times)

1. Hobbled Kirk Gibson Hits Walk-Off Home Run in Game 1 of World Series vs. A’s – 1988

This was perhaps the great moment in baseball history, and it is a moment that any fan should admire.

The 1988 World Series featured the Dodgers against the Oakland A’s, who were heavily favorited to win the title that year with a dominant pitching staff and feared sluggers in Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco leading the way.

The underdog Dodgers were without Kirk Gibson, their star outfielder who led the team with 25 home runs that season. Gibson was suffering from a stomach virus and injuries to both knees, and was out for the series.

Or at least that’s what everyone thought.

In Game 1, the Dodgers found themselves down 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth, with a man on first but two out in the inning. To top of all off, they were facing Dennis Eckersley, one of the best closers in the game.

So what did Tommy Lasorda do? He brought in Gibson to pinch hit, a stunning and very risky maneuver.

Hobbling up to the plate, Gibson quickly fell behind 0-2, but kept battling and fouling off Eckersley’s pitches. On one foul ball, he limped towards first base, then painfully worked his way back into the batter’s box.

Finally, he worked the count full, and remembered the scouting report that Eckersley liked to throw a backdoor slider to left-handed hitters in a 3-2 count.

And when that backdoor slider came, Gibson was ready for it:

Vin Scully’s great call, the iconic image of Gibson pumping his fist while rounding the bases, Lasorda jumping for joy, and just pure pandemonium breaking loose — it doesn’t get any better than that, does it?