Birthplace: Pontiac. MI
One of the great receivers in Michigan State history, Kirk Gibson finished his All-America career as the school’s all-time leading receiver. Still owning the Michigan State record with 21.0 yards per catch average, Gibson finished his career as the university’s record-holder for career receptions (112), touchdown receptions (24) and receiving yards (2,347), with the latter two still ranking in the top five. A First Team All-America as a senior in 1978, Gibson helped the Spartans to a No. 12 national ranking that season and was named the Outstanding Offensive End by the New York Downtown Athletic Club. He hauled in 42 receptions for a team-high 806 yards that year, then No. 1 on the school’s seasonal list, and he paced all Big Ten players in receptions (31) and receiving yards (613) in league outings. A three time all-conference selection, he earned first team honors after guiding Michigan State to a share of the Big Ten title in 1978. After leading the Spartans in receiving his final three years, Gibson played in the Hula Bowl and the Senior Bowl. He received the 1976 MSU Outstanding Underclassman Award and the 1978 MSU President’s Award during his career, and he is a member of the Michigan State Centennial Super Squad. Although he was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh round of the 1979 NFL Draft, Gibson chose a professional baseball career after being drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the first round of the MLB Draft. Gibson played for four teams throughout his 17 years in the MLB, winning a World Series with the Tigers in 1984 and receiving National League MVP honors in 1988. He hit one of the most memorable home runs in MLB history in Game One of the 1988 World Series for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who would go on to win the Series. Gibson went on to serve as an MLB coach, eventually serving as manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2010-14. He also served as a television analyst for the Tigers from 1998-2002. After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2015, he established the Kirk Gibson Foundation, which is committed to raising money and awareness for neurological disorders research.
Michigan State University