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Dodgers Determination - Trying to Catch Lightning Again
I can still remember watching Kirk Gibson hobble to the plate on October 15, 1988. The Dodgers were down to their last. Gibson, NL MVP that season, was not expected to play during this World Series due to hamstring and knee injuries. Knowing he could hardly run to first base should he get a hit, Vin Scully announced, “So, the Dodgers trying to catch lightning right now!”

The Oakland A’s were leading 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth. The A’s ace closer and Hall of Famer, Dennis Eckersley was on the mound and there were two outs. Gibson took the count to 3-2 before reaching out and literally swatting the next pitch to the right field stands to win game 1. While it was his only at bat that series, that one swing inspired the Dodgers to beat the highly favored and perhaps superior A’s in five games.

The magic returned to Chavez Ravine and Dodger Stadium last night as the Dodgers refused to be vanquished by their neighbors to the south, the San Diego Padres. Down by multiple runs all night, the boys in blue refused to quit and accept a sure defeat. In the bottom of the ninth, the score stood 9-5. At stake was the lead in the NL West with less than two weeks left in the season.

A few fans started for the parking lot. After all, the Dodgers needed runs (home runs) to make up this large deficit and they stood last in the National League in home runs and could not boast of a single 20-home run hitter. Worse yet, they were facing reliever Jon Adkins, who had yielded just one home run in 51 innings.

Eight pitches later, the score stood at 9-9 as Jeff Kent, J.D. Drew, Russell Martin and Marlon Anderson all went yard off two San Diego relievers. 

Prior to last night, only three teams had ever blasted four consecutive homers in an inning. The last time - 1964, I was still in diapers – cloth diapers that is, the A’s were still in Kansas City and the Beatles had their first number one US hit (I Want to Hold your Hand).

So to the tenth inning where the Padres reapply the pressure and go up in the top half by a run.

The Dodgers again facing defeat, get the lead-off man on and then “NomarDodgers Nomar.jpg Garciaparra blew the siding off of Dodger stadium” with a two-run walk-off home run to clinch the win 11-10 and move the Dodgers past the Padres and into the lead of the NL West.

Gibson's limp-off home run was the first time a team had been trailing in a World Series game and homered to win in the bottom of the ninth. The Dodgers rode the momentum from that at bat all the way to a World Series championship. 

It wasn’t just fans like me that were inspired by this game and the determination to win by both teams. From the Washington Post, “That was the greatest game I've ever seen. I've never seen anything like that,” Dodgers reliever Brett Tomko said.

Tommy Lasorda, Dodger legend and skipper of the 1988 Dodgers once said, “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man's determination.”

Last night’s game was one for the ages and was an inspirational example of courage, determination and teamwork.Dodgers.jpg

AP Photo/Jeff Lewis

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