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Who’s Your Daddy: Kirk Gibson Jr.

What is the most important life lesson your dad passed down to you?

“Really just to be mentally strong. To not let anyone else ever tell you that you’re not good enough or you’re not smart enough or you don’t have the ability to do something. He has an equation that he used to always say that it’s I X V = R…which translates into how vividly you can imagine something is how real it can become. He just really taught us that the only limits to yourself and what you can achieve are made in your own mind and never by anybody else.”

What is the most memorable sports experience you remember sharing with your dad?

That would be the 2011 NL West clinching game when we beat the Giants at home at Chase Field. It was two days before my birthday and I had flown out here from school just for the weekend and it all kind of fell together really awesomely when we clinched. I just remember seeing him come around the corner when he first came in the locker room, he doesn’t smile a whole lot but he had a pretty big grin.

I think it was just really cool because he’s wanted to be a manager for a long time and for whatever reason, because reputation or perception or whatever, no club really ever wanted to really give him the chance to do that and Mr. Hall and Mr. Kendrick and Mr. Towers, they all believed in him and they gave him that chance and it was just really cool to see him get that, to have that moment where it was validated that he could do it and he was smart enough and he was calmed down enough from his playing days where he could be a successful manager and lead a team from last place to a division championship.

ust to come in and not really know where the season was going to go and how it was going to go and then to be able to be here for that, just seeing him come around the corner grinning from ear to ear that was a pretty cool feeling. You could tell it really meant a lot to him.

I was alive for the home run in ’88 and all that stuff and that’s what everybody loves to talk about, but we don’t like the Dodgers anymore so, that’s what everybody talks about but for me that was the coolest thing to be a part of sports-wise.

Most of my memories of my dad that I hold in the highest regard are just of us sitting around a campfire, being out in the boat fishing, sitting in the blind hunting and just being with my best friend and it not really being my dad.

I’ve been hunting with my dad before I can even remember. He obviously worked a lot when I was growing up but hunting season was always the time when we really got to spend a lot of time together. Even when he was up with his friends and I’m sure he probably didn’t want some six-year-old kid raining on the parade, but he always included me and brought me up and introduced that aspect of his life and the outdoors to me and we definitely have a pretty strong bond to this day over those same things.

What’s it like being named after your father?

I think when I was younger there was a lot of expectations, like do you play baseball, this and that and the other. People would call me Kirk Gibson, Jr. and he would always say, ‘no, this is Kirk Robert and I’m Kirk Harold.’ You’re always your own person, don’t let anybody tell you that your destiny and your path in life are already planned out for you just because you have the same name as me. You can do whatever you want as long as you’re going to give it 100 percent and not quit and flake out, I’ll support you whatever it is.

For other people I think it was a bigger deal than it was for me. Definitely growing up in Michigan, the first day of class when they announce the names, a few necks (craned) and said ,’Oh what Kirk Gibson, huh?’

So, Dodgers or D-backs?

We were Dodgers at one point and I know he cherishes the fact that he was able to win that championship and he loves all those guys that he played with and everything, but we’re Diamondbacks now. We really like this organization; it’s not like any other organization that we’ve ever been a part of for his entire career, from the top down. People talk about what great an organization the Diamondbacks is and you don’t really understand it until you’re in the middle of it and you see what great people they have working for them. I’ve never felt more welcome to come and be around the ballpark and be a part everything than I have since we’ve been with the D-backs. I think that probably goes equal for both of my brothers too. They treat us like family.

I mean the Dodgers, that was a cool home run and everything and that was obviously really great, but they’re our enemies and we want to beat them every chance we get now. [Tuesday] there was definitely no love lost for me.

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