Forget the three digits that represent the batting average. Disregard the numbers in the RBI and homer columns.

Some accomplishments don't lend themselves to impersonal, precise measurement.Kirk Gibson's numbers weren't all that impressive this season. Then he had only one - very memorable - at-bat in the entire World Series. But his contributions to the world champion Los Angeles Dodgers were unmistakable.

Those contributions were recognized when Gibson was named the National League's Most Valuable Player for 1988.

"He helped turn the team around and played a leadership role," the New Yorks Mets' Kevin McReynolds, third in the MVP voting, said of Gibson.

"I'm not a numbers person," Gibson said. "I never set goals to hit this number or get so many RBIs. The intangibles obviously were taken into consideration and that makes me feel good."

Gibson had just 76 RBI, the lowest total for a league MVP since Pete Rose won the award in 1973. Gibson's batting average was .290 and he had 25 homers.

The four hitters who finished behind him in the MVP voting - the Mets' Darryl Strawberry and Kevin McReynolds, Pittsburgh's Andy Van Slyke and San Francisco's Will Clark - had better statistics.

Still, Gibson was an easy winner in the MVP balloting, receiving 13 first-place votes and 272 points. Strawberry had seven first-place votes and 236.