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Kirk Gibson is a Mud Hen

May 25, 2010
Kirk Gibson Toledo Mud Hens 1987 ProCards No. 28

Kirk Gibson Toledo Mud Hens 1987 ProCards No. 28 Image courtesy of

A year before Kirk Gibson belted one of the most memorable home runs in major league baseball history, he found himself in a Toledo Mud Hens’ jersey.

After spending a portion of the 1987 spring training injured, Detroit Tigers outfielder was sent to Triple-A Toledo on a rehabilitation option on April 26.

Gibson, who had sore ribs, was sent down to serve as the Mud Hens’ designated hitter. On the same day, the Tigers also sent down starting pitcher Willie Hernandez on a rehab assignment.

In six games with the Tigers’ top farm team, Gibson went to the plate 17 times and recorded four base hits.

Both Gibson and Hernandez were recalled on May 5, 1987 after the club returned from a West Coast road trip.

Gibson’s short stint in Toledo marked the third minor league team he suited up for, but the first since his major league debut.

After being selected with the 12th overall pick in the first round of the 1978 June amateur draft, Gibson played for Jim Leyland and the Single-A Lakeland Tigers that same year.

The following season, Gibson made the jump to the Triple-A Evansville Triplets, who were also managed by Leyland. He appeared in 89 games for the Triplets before being called up by the Tigers late in the 1979 season.

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