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Weekend Watch: 1988 World Series, Game 1

Profile Picture: Jeremy Balan

May 22nd, 2020

With nearly every major sports league suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic, fans around the world are yearning for a return to normalcy.

The sports we love will be back, but in the interim, as we wait out the virus that has turned our world upside down, it's important to stay connected to the games we love.

Our Weekend Watch feature touches on the most significant moments in sports history, and luckily for us in this modern age, many of them are viewable online, in their entirety.

1988 World Series, Game 1

There was so much more to this game than what happened in the final at-bat.

There was Mickey Hatcher's jubilant home run sprint around the bases, Jose Canseco's laser-beam grand slam, a standout performance from the Dodgers bullpen, a beautiful opposite-field single in the clutch by Mike Scioscia, and a raucous crowd at Dodger Stadium ready to explode with every pitch.

But let's not mess around. This night will always be about the great duel of mustaches, between Kirk Gibson and Dennis Eckersley.

Everyone remembers the all-arms flick of the bat Gibson used to send Eckersley's pitch into the right-field pavilion, but the at-bat was a five-minute chess match. Gibson looked lost early, with no power in a pair of injured legs, but got just enough of Eckersley's pitches — four foul balls, including the first three pitches — to stay alive. But as the matchup developed, Gibson started to get a read. He held off on three outside pitches, then, with a 3-2 count, got as much as his arms could muster into a down-and-away slider.

What has always been most impressive to me is that it wasn't a cheapie. It was a shot, and it got into the stands in a hurry. To get that much power into the ball, with no legs, is one of the most impressive feats in baseball history. There may not have been a purer contact of bat on ball.

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