October 19th, 2010

Gibson holding onto Tigers stuff for now

Kirk Gibson cited a combination of estate planning and scholarship fundraising as he discussed his move to put up some of his items from the 1988 World Series for auction online, including his bat, helmet and uniform from his memorable Game 1 home run. For now, though, he’s holding onto the artifacts he has from his Tigers days, including the 1984 World Series.

“Not right now,” Gibson said on a conference call. “This is kind of a first step. We’ll see how this goes. I’ve retained all my Tiger stuff right now. I just have my reasons. We’ll just leave it at that.”

Those items presumably will stay in the Michigan warehouse where he has piled up so many items he has collected over the years. He bought that storage space back in 1978 and collected a slew of items, not just from baseball, but just in life.

“Pretty soon I had a warehouse full of everything — cars, boats, memorabilia, things I saved,” Gibson said. “I never considered myself a collector. Got to the point where I needed to start going through it. I went through all of my memorabilia as part of that. I had all this stuff.”

Pretty soon, the stuff piled up, even though Gibson himself says he’s never considered himself a collector. He worried about what to do with that stuff down the road, what would happen to it in a fire or something. But just as important, he also worried about a legacy, of carrying on the commitment to education his parents established as high school educators.

This auction allows him to do that. Proceeds will go towards his foundation, which has in turn donated money towards a scholarship fund at Michigan State as well as at Clarkston and Waterford Kettering High Schools, where his parents worked.

“These are things that, I don’t want to say I don’t value them, but I just thought I’d donate them to my foundation,” Gibson said. “I just thought it would be better for me, before I go, before my mom goes, I want to make sure they understand my commitment to giving back.  So I put those into my foundation.”