Gibson to honor Sparky, face Leyland in Detroit

Gibson to honor Sparky, face Leyland in Detroit

PHOENIX -- A week from Sunday, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson will be on hand at Comerica Park in Detroit when the Tigers retire Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson's number. Gibson played for the late Anderson from 1979-87 and '93-95.

"They've all had an influence," Gibson said of his previous managers. "But Sparky had the most."

But Anderson wasn't the first. In the spring of 1978, Gibson was picked up by Tigers manager Jim Leyland at an airport in Lakeland, Fla. Leyland was managing the Lakeland Tigers at the time.

"He picked me up and he buried me," Gibson said. "He said basically that it was great that I was an All-American and everything, but it didn't mean anything to him."

Gibson and Leyland will square off next weekend as the D-backs and Tigers play a three-game series in Detroit.

"He said I would be out at 8 a.m. every morning for workouts with him personally, and that I would work out with the team from 2:30-3:00," Gibson said. "And they weren't easy workouts.

"He did it my whole career, in [Class A] and Triple-A, and of course, I'm grateful for that," he continued. "And maybe I can hold it against him when I get there next weekend."