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Former Tiger Kirk Gibson named Diamondbacks manager

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Kirk Gibson -- geez that look is enough to make your blood run cold -- will serve as the interim manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Kirk Gibson -- geez that look is enough to make your blood run cold -- will serve as the interim manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Diamondbacks are again a disappointment. Someone's head had to roll. It turned out to be that of former Detroit Tigers catcher A.J. Hinch. Replacing him will be ... former Tigers outfielder Kirk Gibson.

As Joe Galea said, when's the last time one Tiger replaced another Tiger as manager? That can't happen too often. (Does a former Tigers minor league catcher count?)

Whenever the Diamondbacks and Tigers meet up, we get to hear about how badly Gibson wanted to be a big league manager. Some -- possibly many -- Tigers fans hope he will be the eventual successor to Jim Leyland, though I'd imagine Tom Brookens is pretty fierce competition for that position.

"Gibby" spoke with FS Detroit this June (complete with video):

"I've always wanted to get back to be a World Champ again," Gibson said. "Ultimately for me I could do that in a total leadership role. That would be the ultimate for me. I'm 53 years old, so I'm running out of time to do that, but I am determined and feel confident that before it's all said and done, I'll get there again."

He also gave credit to the managers he's had during his career:

"I think really the most influential people are Jim Leyland who was my minor league manager, then I had Sparky (Anderson)," Gibson said. "I have a lot of Sparky in me. Tommy, Tommy Lasorda. Even the guys I competed against like Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox. I talked to Bobby last week. These guys have been great about sitting down and I have a lot of questions about how to handle things, about how things have changed, what works and what doesn't work. They've been very supportive."

It won't be easy. As I write this I'm reading reports the Diamondbacks fired general manager Josh Byrnes for refusing to fire Hinch himself. His job is to do what his bosses say, of course. But the organization cost itself a bright, respected baseball mind in the process. (And the Tigers lost a guy they have made several deals with in the past couple of months.)

But as the Arizona Republic put it around that time, if anyone can turn the Diamondbacks around, it's a guy like Gibson. The former Michigan State football player seemed to the very definition of the phrase "ass kicker" and his photo (pictured) ought to be used to illustrate the word "intensity" in the dictionary.

So congratulations go out to Gibby for achieving his goal; and good luck to him. But not too much luck, OK?

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