Kirk Gibson addresses the crowd as the Kirk Gibson Foundation hosts its seventh annual Kirk Gibson Golf Classic Aug. 21 at  Wyndgate Country Club in Rochester Hills.

Kirk Gibson addresses the crowd as the Kirk Gibson Foundation hosts its seventh annual Kirk Gibson Golf Classic Aug. 21 at Wyndgate Country Club in Rochester Hills.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

1984 Tigers reunite with familiar foe for Kirk Gibson Foundation events

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Metro | Published August 30, 2023

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ROYAL OAK — “How can you not be romantic about baseball?”

The quote was once popularized in the film and book “Moneyball,” but it was in living color on Aug. 20 at Bowlero Lanes in Royal Oak.

The Kirk Gibson Foundation hosted its first “Strike Out Parkinson’s” event to commemorate the 1984 Detroit Tigers and their journey to a World Series victory over the San Diego Padres.

As legendary Tigers shortstop Alan Trammell and right-hander Dave Rozema answered questions alongside Gibson, a familiar foe was in attendance to make sure that the Padres were represented.

“I don’t even know what I’m doing here,” Rich “Goose” Gossage said. “I don’t like the guy, but there it is. I don’t know what else to say.”

The Hall of Famer and flame-throwing right hander usually got the better of Gibson, as Gibson went 1-for-13 with eight strikeouts throughout his career against Gossage in the regular season, but it was Gibson’s home run off Gossage in Game 5 of the 1984 World Series that was the topic of conversation throughout the night.

That’s the romanticism and camaraderie of baseball — how one pitch, one swing and one home run could have such a profound impact that the pair meeting up again nearly 40 years later could draw so much attention.

“The game is over and we’re done, but to have this and start this, it gives him something else to focus on than his health conditions and his health issues that he’s had with Parkinson’s,” Gossage said. “It’s great to be here with him and for him, and to see such a great turnout. It’s awesome.”

As attendees bowled to start the night and enjoyed food and conversation, the attention shifted to the video board as the journey to the 1984 World Series was displayed, showing a buildup of draft picks and even the infamous Rozema karate kick against the Minnesota Twins in 1982 during a bench-clearing brawl, which drew laughter from the crowd.

Afterward, the ’84 World Series panel took the stage as Gossage, Gibson, Trammell and Rozema discussed the famous at-bat between Gossage and Gibson, the Tigers clubhouse in 1984 and everything in between.

“Obviously, we get to reminisce and we get to talk about the old times, and that never gets old, but this is life and death stuff here and to raise funds and to make people more aware of Parkinson’s, or what Gibby calls ‘Parky,’” Trammell said. “They broke the mold with Kirk Gibson, and I mean that in a complimentary fashion. He’s a heck of a man and a good friend.”

To follow up the bowling event, the Kirk Gibson Foundation hosted its seventh annual Kirk Gibson Golf Classic Aug. 21 at Wyndgate Country Club in Rochester Hills to raise money to fight Parkinson’s, and the ’84 Tigers brought in some reinforcements to get the job done.

As Gossage, Trammell and Rozema shared laughs near their respective golf carts before the outing, legendary Tigers catcher Lance Parrish joined in on the reunion to support his teammate.

“This is a big deal to him, and it’s a big deal to anyone who has somebody that suffers from Parkinson’s or has a family member,” Parrish said. “It’s all in an effort, just like every charity event, to try to find a cure, and we’re hoping the little bit that we can all do to help in that regard is leading towards that direction.”

While finding a cure is definitely at the top of the list, there was much conversation surrounding the Kirk Gibson Foundation’s center for Parkinson’s that is currently in the development stages.

Putting heavy emphasis on achieving major progress in 2023, the Kirk Gibson Foundation’s managing director, Steve Annear, said the foundation is hoping to open the doors of the center to the Parkinson’s community within the next two years.

“It’s been amazing,” Annear said. “I think so far this year we’ve exceeded our own expectations of what we could do. The result of that means we’ll be able to more directly impact people that are living with Parkinson’s through the programs that we support and opening up our own center, which will be the Kirk Gibson Center for Parkinson’s, where people will be able to come and get all these exercises and activity-based programs for free, so that’s kind of the centerpiece of what we’re doing here and we’re really excited about it.”

The center will be home to a multitude of activity-based programs that the Kirk Gibson Foundation funds, including yoga, tai chi, bicycling, spin classes, breathing exercises, strength and weight training classes, dance classes, and many more.

The center also will provide a support program to family members of people fighting Parkinson’s to help them cope and assist their loved ones.

Don’t think of it in the context of a medical center, but rather as a sanctuary for people fighting Parkinson’s to walk in and feel like they’re at home.

“We want it to feel like a community where people with Parkinson’s walk through the doors and feel fantastic about being there and feel normal that they’re there, and the kind of relationships you build and the camaraderie and friendships you build in that center are very, very important to people’s mental health,” Annear said.

With one more event this year on the schedule with the 2023 Detroit Free Press Marathon, the foundation’s attention and efforts are still locked onto this year.

Regardless, it’s difficult to ignore the prominence of the 2024 year being the 40th anniversary of the 1984 World Series, and the foundation’s chief operating officer, Michelle Newman, said the foundation expects to honor that anniversary with something special in 2024,

“Next year is the 40th anniversary of the ’84 home run, so we’d like to plan something to commemorate that,” Newman said.

For more information on the Kirk Gibson Foundation, visit