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Wheaties Commemorates Kirk Gibson's Home Run Heroics

New special-edition package features Gibson’s 1988 World Series game-winning homer

"Bottom of the ninth, two outs" has echoed through backyards and ball-fields for generations, and has sparked the enthusiastic imaginations of countless aspiring young ballplayers through the years. But for Los Angeles Dodgers fans, those words will forever find meaning in Kirk Gibson’s pinch-hit, ninth-inning home run that beat the Oakland A’s to win Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, sparking the Dodgers’ championship run.

Gibson’s heroic feat is now being honored on the cover of a new Wheaties package, which was unveiled today at Dodger Stadium.

That memorable home run tops a multitude of highlights from Gibson’s illustrious 17-year Major League career. He also won World Series championships in both leagues with the Detroit Tigers in 1984 and with the Dodgers in 1988 and was named National League MVP in 1988. Gibson excelled in football as an All-American flanker for Michigan State University before concentrating on baseball and becoming the Tigers’ first round selection in the 1978 draft.

"I'm honored to be featured on the cover of this new Wheaties box," Gibson said. "Knowing everything that went into that moment and what it represents makes this even more meaningful to me."

"Kirk Gibson’s 1988 home run will go down as one of the greatest winning moments in sports history," said Wheaties Marketing Manager Eric Treschuk. "People forget that he also hit two game-winning home runs against the Mets in the playoffs that year, all while being hobbled by injuries. That championship performance coupled with his competitive spirit certainly distinguished his career and makes him a great addition to the Wheaties family."

The new 18-ounce Kirk Gibson Wheaties box will be available nationally beginning this week. A special commemorative edition of the package will be released in conjunction with July’s MLB All-Star Game in Detroit, where Gibson started his career, played 12 seasons during two stretches, and currently serves as bench coach. In addition, Gibson is involved in production of a new Wheaties television commercial that will begin airing next month.

Among the Dodgers greats who have appeared on the Wheaties box through the years are Heinie Manush, Roy Campanella, Elwin "Preacher" Roe, Duke Snider, and Jackie Robinson.

In April, Wheaties became the "Official Breakfast Cereal of Major League Baseball" through a sponsorship agreement between Major League Baseball Properties and General Mills. Dozens of MLB stars have appeared on the fabled orange Wheaties box throughout the years. In 1934, New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig became the first athlete ever to appear on a Wheaties box. Yankees All-Star shortstop Tom Tresh became the first baseball player to appear on the front of the package in 1964. In addition, eight individual MLB teams have appeared on the front of Wheaties boxes, with the 1987 World Series Champion Minnesota Twins being the first team to earn that honor.

Wheaties sponsored the first televised commercial sports broadcast on August 29, 1939, when NBC presented a Cincinnati Reds vs. Brooklyn Dodgers broadcast for some 500 television owners in New York City, with the late Red Barber calling the game.

Among the many Major League Baseball stars who have endorsed the cereal through the years are: Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Lefty Grove, Carl Hubbell, Joe Cronin, Jimmie Foxx, Mel Ott, Eddie Stanky, Bob Feller, Ted Williams, Hank Greenberg, Stan Musial, Lou Boudreau, Phil Rizzuto, Jackie Robinson, Hal Newhouser, Pee Wee Reese, Warren Spahn, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Johnny Bench, Hank Aaron, Cal Ripken, Jr. and Albert Pujols. In fact, 46 of the 51 players selected for the 1939 Major League Baseball All-Star Game endorsed Wheaties.

About Major League Baseball Properties
The Major League Baseball Clubs formed Major League Baseball Properties (MLBP) in 1966 as the Club’s agent for marketing and trademark licensing and protection. Major League Baseball Properties is responsible for managing consumer licensing activities, developing national advertising campaigns, cultivating sponsorship opportunities with major consumer brands and corporations, growing the game and the business of baseball outside the United States and creating national marketing programs in conjunction with Clubs, broadcast rightsholders and national sponsors. MLBP also operates a full-service video and audio production unit (Major League Baseball Productions), a publishing division and stock photo licensing agency, and manages logistics for the All-Star Game and World Series as well as all other special events. For more information about Major League Baseball, log on to www.mlb.com.

About Wheaties, "The Breakfast of Champions"
Launched in 1924, Wheaties is the No. 1 whole-grain wheat flaked breakfast cereal in the country. The brand began its association with sports in the mid-1930s with a sign on the left field wall at Nicollet Park near downtown Minneapolis. General Mills’ broadcast deal with the minor league Minneapolis Millers on WCCO Radio included the large signboard that the cereal would use to introduce its new ad slogan: "Wheaties — The Breakfast of Champions." From that rather humble foundation, Wheaties has gone on to build a heritage that includes many of the greatest athletes of all time. Learn more at www.wheaties.com.

THE BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS® AND WHEATIES® ARE REGISTERED TRADEMARKS OF GENERAL MILLS.

Source: General Mills, Inc.
Date: June 7, 2005

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