I don’t have any memories of Kirk Gibson the football player, but I do remember hearing friends’ dads up in Michigan in the early 80s talking about Gibson made a big mistake picking baseball over football. This was before he truly broke in as a full-timer with the Tigers and was battling some injuries. These guys all were silenced by 1984, of course, and obviously Gibson ended up making a pretty wise choice.
But as Dan Bickley of AZCentral reminds us, thinking that Gibson could’ve/should’ve gone to the NFL is not crazy talk. He spoke with Gibson about his football career and what led him to baseball instead. And old story for some, but I imagine a lot of people in their 30s and younger may not realize how good a receiver Gibson was at Michigan State. He would have been a high draft pick in 1979 if he had committed to football and probably could have made a pretty good go of it in the NFL.
At least until he was destroyed by injuries.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.