Former MLB Star Kirk Gibson to speak at Sports Commission Luncheon

Kirk GibsonKirk Gibson, former baseball star and manager, will share his playing experiences and current challenge with Parkinsons as the featured speaker at the 10th Annual West Michigan Sports Commission Luncheon. The luncheon will be held in the International Ballroom of the JW Marriott Hotel on Wednesday, May 4, 2016 at noon.


“We are very excited to have Kirk Gibson as the guest speaker for our 10th Annual Luncheon,” stated Mike Guswiler, President of the West Michigan Sports Commission. “Kirk is beloved in the hearts of so many MSU and Tiger’s fans in the state of Michigan and embodies the excitement, determination and grit that we love as sports enthusiasts. His recent diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease and how he has met it head on to fight this debilitating disease and help find a cure, continues to show that grit and determination he’s known for.”


As a player, Gibson was an outstanding outfielder who batted and threw left-handed. He spent most of his career with the Detroit Tigers but also played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kansas City Royals, and Pittsburgh Pirates.  Gibson played as the regular right fielder for the Detroit Tigers from 1983 to 1987. He helped the Tigers win the 1984 World Series. He became a free agent after the 1985 season, but re-signed with the Tigers and in 1987 helped them to win the American League East by one game over the Blue Jays in an enthralling divisional race. Detroit lost the 1987 American League Championship Series to the eventual World Champion Twins.


Kirk Gibson’s memorable moments to major league baseball fans include the home run hit off a Goose Gossage fastball in Game 5 of the 1984 World Series in old Tiger Stadium and another home run rip off Dennis Eckersley in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series in Dodger Stadium.

West Michigan Sports Commission


Following his retirement as a player, he spent five seasons as a television analyst in Detroit, then became a coach for the Tigers in 2003. He became the Diamondbacks’ bench coach in 2007, and was promoted to interim manager in 2010. On October 4, 2010, the Diamondbacks removed the “interim” label, naming Gibson their manager for the 2011 season. Gibson left the role of manager in September of 2014.


The Annual West Michigan Sports Commission Luncheon serves as a fundraiser for the organization heading into the next year. It also acts as a progress report, a reminder, of the success of the organization in promoting and hosting youth and amateur sporting events in the region for economic enhancement, healthy living, and creating vibrant community through sport.


“In the more than nine years since our inception, the WMSC has helped secure or support more than 500 youth and amateur sporting events, which will contribute well over $200 million in direct visitor spending in West Michigan,” said Guswiler. “We want to set a path for future sporting endeavors, yet also celebrate our successes as we have always done at this annual event.”


The luncheon will be held in the international Ballroom of the JW Marriott Hotel, 235 Louis Campau Promenade NW. Reservations can be made by contacting Natalie Rose at (616) 608-1836 or A table of eight is $650, and single tickets are $90 per person. Luncheon information is also available online.


As in past years, the West Michigan Sport Commission will reach out to area high school athletic directors and coaches to attend the luncheon as guests of the Meijer Coaches Corner.