Gibson & Maddon Played College Baseball & Football…
A pair of former college baseball players have received the highest honors a Major League Baseball manager can receive. Tampa Bay’s Joe Maddon and Arizona’s Kirk Gibson were named AL and NL Manager of the Year, respectively, on Wednesday.
Maddon and Gibson not only share the connecting to playing college baseball. They also both played football at the college level.
Gibson achieved All-American status for his football prowess at Michigan State, where he starred from 1975-1978. He only played one season of baseball for the Spartans, but it was a big one, batting .390 with 16 home runs and 52 RBIs in 48 games.
After being selected by the Detroit Tigers with the 12th overall pick of the 1978 draft, Gibson went on to a big league career that saw him win World Series championships in 1984 with Detroit and in 1988 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was inducted into the Michigan State Hall of Fame in 1994.
Gibson led the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 94-68 record and the National League West title this past season. The 94 wins were a 29-game improvement from 2010, when the Diamondbacks finished in last place with a 65-97 mark.
Maddon is a 1976 graduate of Lafayette College in eastern Pennsylvania. Located in Easton, Pa, the school is just west of New York City and north of Philadelphia.
He led the Tampa Bay Rays to a 91-71 record in 2011 and won the wild card on the final day of the regular season after trailing the Boston Red Sox by nine games in the standings with 24 left in the regular season. It was the largest deficit ever overcome in September to get to the postseason in Major League history.
Maddon He was initially recruited to play football, and played one season of freshman football. In his final game on the gridrion, Maddon completed 14 of 17 passes for four touchdowns in a win over Lehigh.
The Hazleton, Pa., native then turned his attention exclusively to baseball and played catcher for three seasons at Lafayette (1973-’75) before signing as a free agent with the California Angels. He was inducted into his schools Maroon Club Hall of Fame in 2009, a year after leading the Rays to their first World Series.
Maddon wore a Lafayette sweatshirt during an on-camera interview with MLB Network Wednesday night. Gibson was on a hunting trip and did a phone interview with the network. He also phoned-in to the Dan Patrick Radio Show on Thursday, telling Patrick that former big league pitcher David Wells was among those in his hunting party.