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Gibson during a game against the Rockies, Oct. 3.
Kirk Gibson is known for his magical walk-off home run in the 1988 World Series, but he’s transforming his image into one of a successful MLB manager.
Expectations for the Arizona Diamondbacks over the last couple of years have not been high, but Gibson has managed to squeeze success out of a team that, on paper, really shouldn’t be winning.
In 2011, the NL West transformed from one of the easiest divisions in MLB to one of the most competitive.
The Diamondbacks, who really lacked any big-name pitchers at the time, would post a 3.80 ERA and score 735 runs, good enough for fourth most in the National League in Gibson’s first full season as manager.
They ended their 2011 campaign with 94 wins and a division title.
With trade rumors swirling around All-Star center fielder Justin Upton in 2012 and underachieving pitching, distractions stifled the Diamondbacks as they posted just 81 wins, ending in third in the NL West.
With some young guns in the rotation and the addition of Brandon McCarthy, Gibson’s Diamondbacks could threaten the Giants and Dodgers playoff chances.