A castaway turned hero, the Justin Turner story.
When the New York Mets let Turner go to free agency following the 2013 season, he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for a relative pittance. Four seasons later, he’s played in his first All-Star Game and is crushing postseason, walk-off bombs:
The game-winning home run off Chicago Cubs pitcher John Lackey could not have come at a more perfect time. On that same day, 29 years earlier, a hobbled Kirk Gibson hit what has become one of the most iconic home runs in baseball history.
Gibson’s home run holds a special place in Turner’s memory, as it does for most baseball fans of a certain age. He told the OC Register’s Bill Plunkett that seeing the 1988 blast was, “one of my first baseball memories.”
In the postgame interview, Turner said he was considering paying homage to the legendary Dodgers moment with a Gibson-like fist pump of his own when rounding the bases. He held back, saying he’d, “wait until we get to the World Series for that.”
If the rest of the postseason falls in the Dodgers’ favor, there’s a good chance Turner’s blast will be etched into franchise lore. Side by side, the two homers look pretty good together: