Former MLB outfielder and Arizona Diamondbacks manager and current Detroit Tigers color commentator Kirk Gibson was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease on April 28.
Kirk Gibson has Parkinson's disease.
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Gibson made the revelation via a statement on FOX Sports Detroit, whom he currently works for as a color commentator for the Detroit Tigers, on April 28:
"I have faced many obstacles in my life, and have always made a strong belief that no matter the circumstances, I could overcome those obstacles. While this diagnosis poses a new kind of challenge for me, I intend to stay true to my beliefs.
"With the support of my family and friends, I will meet this challenge with the same determination and unwavering intensity that I have displayed in all of my endeavors in life. I look forward to being back at the ballpark as soon as possible."
Gibson hasn't taken the booth since Opening Day earlier this month. The FOX Sports Detroit release says it "will welcome Gibson back as his treatment permits, and we look forward to his return."
MLB.com's Jason Beck says Gibson was scheduled to work 60 games this season together with play-by-play commentator Mario Impemba. This will also allow him to follow his son, Cam, a Michigan State Spartans outfielder.
Rod Allen replaced Gibson in the television booth for the Tigers' homestand last week, per Beck.
The Tigers issued a statement on Gibson's diagnosis, courtesy of MLB.com:
"The Detroit Tigers family wishes the best for Kirk Gibson, and our thoughts are with Kirk and his family. We are all hopeful for Kirk's return to the ballpark soon."
The Detroit Tigers family wishes the best for Kirk Gibson, and our thoughts are with Kirk and his family.— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) April 28, 2015
Gibson was a member of the 1984 Detroit Tigers team which won the World Series. One of his teammates on that team, Alan Trammell, told The Detroit Free Press on Tuesday he's hoping for the best for Gibson.
"We're all just hoping, praying that things work out," Trammell told the paper. "He's a very private person, and I respect that totally."
The two crossed paths again when Trammell served as the Tigers' manager from 2003-05 with Gibson as his bench coach. The roles reversed with the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2010-14 when Gibson was the manager while Trammell was his bench coach, per The Detroit Free Press.
Diamondbacks infielder Aaron Hill told Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic on Tuesday how much respect he has for Gibson:
"I have so much respect for Gibby, not only as a player and former manager, but off the field (where) he was a great friend. And I know that his passion to compete and his drive to win will help him and his family fight this diagnosis.
"He was always there for his players and we will support him and help in any way we can."
Diamondbacks pitching coach Mike Harkey told Piecoro he's confident everything will work out just fine for the former Arizona manager.
"I would expect Gibby to fight it like he fights everything else," Harkey said. "He has a great support group. He has a great wife and a great family. I think he's going to be fine."
The Detroit Free Press update describes exactly what Parkison's disease is:
"Parkinson's disease develops slowly, and patients can live long, high-quality lives even after diagnosis. Medications and surgery often can control symptoms for years.
"Still, there is no cure. And over time, the progressive disorder can cause stiffness, slow movement and tremors. Those with Parksinson's often lose expressions in their face. Their speech may be slurred or become soft and low, and their gait might be affected when they walk.
"Over time, a person with Parkinson's loses the ability to regulate their movements, body and emotions. Simple tasks may become difficult."
Gibson, a native of Waterford, Mich., was a two-sport star at Michigan State during his college days. He also played wide receiver for the Spartans football team, per The Detroit Free Press.
The Tigers drafted him in 1978 and went on to spend 12 of his 17 major league seasons with the club. He is best remembered for his two home runs in Game 5 of the 1984 World Series and his pinch-hit home run off Dennis Eckersley as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, per Beck.
Gibson would go on to be named the 1988 National League Most Valuable Player, per MLB.com.
He amassed 255 home runs and 870 RBIs on a .268 batting average in 1,635 career games, per Beck.
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