One is being honored for what he did in a flash as one of the single moments of greatness in the history of baseball in the state of Michigan.
And the other is being honored for one of the most impressive sustained moments of greatness in the history of baseball in the state of Michigan.
Both will be remembered Saturday night.
The Michigan Baseball Hall of Fame will honor Detroit Tigers great Kirk Gibson and the Homer High School baseball team at its 2016 induction ceremony Saturday prior to the Lansing Lugnuts/West Michigan Whitecaps game at Cooley Law School Stadium in Lansing.
Gibson, a longtime Detroit Tigers great, is probably best known for historic World Series home runs – one Detroit Tigers fans will always remember in 1984, plus one of the biggest in Major League history while with the Dodgers.
Homer is being honored for one of the greatest runs of success in high school baseball history anywhere during the 2003-06 seasons.
Saturday is Michigan Baseball Hall of Fame Day at the Lansing Lugnuts game. Gates will open at 6 p.m. with the induction ceremony at approximately 6:15 p.m. in the plaque section in centerfield. Representatives of the Homer baseball program as well as Gibson will be throwing out the first pitch.
Gibson and the Homer baseball program are the lone honorees during the second year of the Michigan Baseball Hall of Fame, which had a much bigger class in its inaugural year.
“That whole era is going in, not just one team or just me, the whole group – from 2003 to 2006, those four teams,” Homer baseball coach Scott Salow said. “They said they had about 75 nominations for the Hall of Fame for this year and to think about the kind of people Homer had to beat to be the one or two inductees to get in is just crazy.
“It was just a unique situation. We set the world on fire there for four years and did some pretty incredible things on the baseball diamond.”
During the 2003-06 era, Homer went 143-6 and won two state titles (2004, 2006) and was state runner-up (2005). Key players on those teams included current Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Josh Collmenter and Michigan’s 2006 co-Mr. Baseball winners Dan Holcomb and Dale Cornstubble. Those years included high school teams that set a then-national record of 75 consecutive wins.
The record-setting streak featured 47 wins ended by mercy rule, 41 shutouts, 12 no-hitters and two perfect games. Along the way, the Homer Trojans clinched the first undefeated state baseball championship in Michigan history, going a perfect 38-0 in 2004. The Trojans’ success has brought notice to the entire community. They were featured in ESPN’s 50 States in 50 Days, representing Michigan, and have had two separate books written about their accomplishments.
Gibson, now a television analyst, was a former standout in football and baseball at Michigan State University and later had a memorable career with the Detroit Tigers.
In 1984, Gibson won the American League Championship Series MVP Award, batting .417 with a home run and delivering a key catch in the outfield. Detroit won three of the first four games of the World Series, setting up Game Five at Tiger Stadium. In the eighth inning with the Tigers leading 5-4, the San Diego Padres elected to have Goose Gossage pitch to Gibson with first base open. The ensuing three-run homer virtually clinched the Tigers’ first championship in 16 years.