DETROIT — Kirk Gibson has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, he said Tuesday.
The 1988 National League MVP was fired in September as manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks after four-plus seasons. He now calls Tigers games for FOX Sports Detroit, but Gibson had not been in the broadcast booth since opening day April 6 while undergoing tests.
”I have faced many different obstacles in my life, and have always maintained a strong belief that no matter the circumstances, I could overcome those obstacles,” he said in a statement through the network. ”While this diagnosis poses a new kind of challenge for me, I intend to stay true to my beliefs. With the support of my family and friends, I will meet this challenge with the same determination and unwavering intensity that I have displayed in all of my endeavors in life. I look forward to being back at the ballpark as soon as possible.”
The 57-year-old Gibson had one of the most memorable moments in baseball history with his limping, pinch-hit home run in the ninth inning of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series for the Dodgers. He also won a championship in 1984 with the Tigers, where he played 12 of his 17 major league seasons.
”The Detroit Tigers family wishes the best for Kirk Gibson, and our thoughts are with Kirk and his family,” the team said in a statement. ”We are all hopeful for Kirk’s return to the ballpark soon.”
Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder that gradually takes a toll on the nervous system. Notable figures with the disease include Muhammad Ali and actor Michael J. Fox. Former major league All-Star Dave Parker revealed in 2013 that he was dealing with Parkinson’s as well.
”That’s hard. I know Kirk,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle before the Pirates’ game in Chicago. ”I know Kirk from back playing minor-league ball together. He’s always been up for a challenge. You never want to see anybody have to meet this challenge. … What a competitor. What a good man. Good man to have in the game. Good man to know. … I will reach out to him.”