Detroit Tigers Kirk Gibson speaks about dealing with Parkinson's disease during an interview with Bob Wojnowski. Max Ortiz, The Detroit News
Detroit – The Tigers decided that a part-time television analyst’s role was insufficient use of Kirk Gibson’s baseball intelligence.
The Tigers announced Monday that Gibson, the catalyst of two World Series championship teams (Tigers and Dodgers), will serve as a special assistant to executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager Al Avila.
Gibson joins an august inner circle of advisers that includes Al Kaline, Willie Horton, Alan Trammell and Jim Leyland.
“Gibby fits into that group as well as anyone,” Avila said in a statement. “He comes in with an already established presence in our clubhouse as a broadcaster. And we’re looking forward to having him around more during spring training in Lakeland.
In addition to his broadcast and community relations duties, Avila said Gibson will assist in some on-field instructional duties at the big-league and minor-league levels, as well as be involved in all personnel meetings.
Gibson has been an on-field instructor during spring training for the past three seasons, mostly tutoring base runners.
“I’m thrilled for this opportunity to work with Al and the baseball operations department who are building a solid foundation for the future success of this franchise,” Gibson said in a statement. “Spring training is right around the corner, and I’m really looking forward to be back in Lakeland working with everyone to bring a World Series championship back to the city of Detroit.
“I remember watching the ’68 team as a sixth grader, participating in the ’84 world championship and I’m excited for the opportunity to contribute to the next championship team.”
Gibson, 61, brings a wealth of baseball experience and knowledge to the post, including 17 seasons and two World Series championships as a player, and 11 seasons as a coach, including five as the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Gibson is also waging a very public battle with Parkinson’s disease. He’s expanded the mission of his Kirk Gibson Foundation to promote cooperation, collaboration and teamwork toward finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease (kirkgibsonfoundation.org).