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“The Rosebud of Chavez Ravine”

Jun 20, 2013, 2:30 PM EDT

Gibson homer

A great story over at SB Nation by David Davis. It’s about the 1988 Dodgers and what they were before and since. It’s about his sister’s suicide just before the World Series that year which caused him to miss it. It’s also about the ball Kirk Gibson hit into the right field pavilion off Dennis Eckersley, and what became of it.

What did become of it? No one knows:

What’s also been lost is Gibson’s home run ball. Despite the TV coverage and the thousands of eyewitnesses, the ball never surfaced. It is the missing talisman, the Rosebud of Chavez Ravine. Its absence has signaled the end of the City of Angels’ aura that once protected the Dodgers franchise.

There are those who have claimed ownership, but the ball has still not been found and, even if it was, its authenticity would be questioned.

But as Davis’ story makes clear, the ball is just the MacGuffin in this story. For him it will always be tied with his sister’s death. For Gibson it will always be a part of the greatest moment of his career. For millions of us who watched that game it will count as one of the all-time baseball highlights we’ll ever see. And the fact that the ball itself is nowhere to be found means very little.

  1. pjmitch - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:38 PM


    I disagree. The missing ball only adds to the legend of the moment, in Dodger and baseball history.

  2. mybrunoblog - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    While having the ball in some museum or something would be cool, it was the moment that mattered. I’m with calcaterra on this one.

  3. historiophiliac - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    As an aside, I’m gonna be kinda bummed when they find Amelia Earhart’s plane.

    • skipperxc - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:51 PM

      Funny you should mention that:

      • historiophiliac - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:52 PM

        That’s why I mentioned it. I saw it on the news, and it made me sad b/c I’m sure they’ll eventually find it and it won’t be a mystery anymore.

      • skipperxc - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:53 PM

        We’ll always have Atlantis.

      • mybrunoblog - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:21 PM

        I’ve never thought it was much of a mystery. They made a navigational error and crashed. Aviation is very unforgiving when you make errors. End of story.

      • historiophiliac - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:37 PM

        I meant *where* they crashed, bruno. Booo!!!

        /throws paper airplanes

  4. stlouis1baseball - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    I agree with C.C. The moment was one for the ages. I was a snot nosed teenager at the time.
    Yet…I remember it so vividly.

  5. Francisco (FC) - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    I thought it was clear Gibson hit it 50 years into the future. We’ll probably see it in 2038.

  6. elmo - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    i always kinda figured the ball ended up in the hands of somebody who wasn’t a big baseball fan, or at least not into memorabilia. I like the notion that it got tossed into a junk box in an attic or chewed up by the family dog.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Jun 20, 2013 at 7:58 PM

      Just guessing, but I think most of the folks willing to sit in the bleachers are pretty avid fans.

      • learysdisciples - Jun 20, 2013 at 10:59 PM

        Mark McGuire has it

  7. nothanksimdriving123 - Jun 20, 2013 at 8:01 PM

    Incredibly, my grandmother caught both that ball and Bobby Thomson’s 1951 home run. She’s very shy though and made me promise not to tell anyone. Oops.

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