Arizona Diamondbacks skipper Kirk Gibson received MLB's 2011 Manager of the Year Award after leading a worst-to-first campaign that saw the D-Backs reach the postseason for the first time since 2007, when Bob Melvin's squad edged out the Colorado Rockies by half a game to capture the NL West crown.*
Gibson received the bobblehead treatment in Arizona several months before the D-Backs made it to the 2011 postseason, a promotional giveaway on August 6 when the Los Angeles Dodgers came to town.
So when the baseball world announced Gibson would become a bobblehead giveaway once again in 2012, the promotional repeat came as no surprise—until you consider it was the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise announcing the giveaway.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dodger Stadium in 2012, Los Angeles has introduced their "Dodger Stadium Greats Bobblehead Series," a promotion meant to commemorate those Dodgers who created magical memories during their time with the club.
In what surely must be an intentional move, Gibson's bobblehead will be the July 31, 2012 giveaway, when the Dodgers welcome the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks.
Kirk Gibson, of course, will forever be known as the injured Dodgers outfielder who astonishingly hit a pinch-hit, walk-off home run in Game one of the 1988 World Series against the Oakland Athletics.
When the Diamondbacks named Gibson their manager in 2010, he decided to auction off several key pieces from that memorable World Series, such as his bat, jersey and helmet from the famous home run, and his 1988 World Series replica trophy.
In response to questions prodding at possible motives, Gibson deferred to the long-held saying that silence cannot be misquoted: "I just have my reasons, we'll just leave it at that."
Gibson additionally stated, "Our owner [in 1988] Peter O'Malley was really generous," opening up speculation that Gibson was at odds with 2010 Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, possibly because the Dodgers did not offer him the manager's job in Los Angeles before Joe Torre came to town, and then, when Torre left once again for New York.
However, Gibson is not the first Dodgers great to have been spurned by the Los Angeles franchise en route to finding a manager's job elsewhere in baseball.
Mike Scioscia—without whom Gibson's 12th inning game-winning HR against the Mets in the 1988 NLCS would not have been possible—became an extremely successful manager with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim only after the Dodgers' ownership in the early 2000s balked at the prospect of hiring Scioscia.
According to Tommy Lasorda, it was all then Owner Bob Daly and the Fox Entertainment Group's fault: "That regime, they were the worst; they were bad."
Scioscia will receive his bobblehead at Dodger Stadium on June 12 when the Angels come to town, while Tommy Lasorda will be given away on July 14 against San Diego.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have not yet announced their 2012 promotional schedule, but considering Gibson was a featured bobblehead last season, it is unlikely he will be featured again in 2012.
In the end, D-Backs fans looking to acquire a Kirk Gibson bobblehead in 2012 might need to travel to Los Angeles on Tuesday, July 31.
Game time is 7:10 pm.
*For those left wondering how Colorado finished 0.5 games behind Arizona in 2007, the Padres and Rockies tied for the NL Wild Card that season. Colorado won the tie-breaker in 13-innings, 9-8, propelling them to a 90-73 finish. The Diamondbacks finished 2007 with a 90-72 record.