Hershiser Honored by Dodger Fans

Orel Hershiser, hero of the 1988 World Champions, was selected to the Dodger Fans Hall of Fame, making him the 40th member chosen since voting began in 1980 and the 15th pitcher. The voters selected for a wide variety of candidates with Kirk Gibson, Bill Russell and Mike Scioscia receiving strong support.

Voters from LADodgers.com and Dodgers Dugout cast ballots for their candidates. It is believed that the Dodger Fans Hall of Fame is the only 'Hall' completely chosen by Dodger fans themselves.

There was a wide range of candidates, including (alphabetically): Sandy Amoros, Dusty Baker, Ralph Branca, Rex Barney, Jim Brewer, Joe Black, Leon Cadore, Hugh Casey, Ron Cey, Charlie Ebbets, Alfredo Griffin, Pedro Guerrero, Mickey Hatcher, Ron Fairly, Jake Fournier, Frank Howard, Tommy John, Tom Lasorda, Davey Lopes, Mike Marshall [p], Rick Monday, Manny Mota, Hi Myers, Peter O'Malley, Walter O'Malley, Wes Parker, Ron Perranoski, Phil Regan, Jerry Reuss, John Roseboro, Vin Scully, Jimmy Sheckard, Reggie Smith, Branch Rickey, Bobby Welch, Steve Yeager,
Previous members include:

2004 - Claude Osteen
2003 - Fernando Valenzuela
2002 - Clem Labine
2001 - Preacher Roe
2000 - Tommy Davis
1999 - Willie Davis
1998 - Ron Cey
1997 - Steve Garvey
1996 - Don Sutton
1995 - Johnny Podres
1994 - Bill Kennedy and Jake Daubert
1993 - Whitlow Wyatt
1992 - Carl Erskine
1991 - Nap Rucker
1990 - Jim Gilliam and Eddie Stanky
1989 - Hugh Casey and Maury Wills
1988 - Carl Furillo and Willie Keeler
1987 - Leo Durocher and Don Newcombe
1986 - Walter Alston and Wilbert Robinson
1985 - Dolph Camilli and Don Drysdale
1984 - Gil Hodges and Pete Reiser
1983 - Burleigh Grimes and Duke Snider
1982 - Pee Wee Reese and Dixie Walker
1981 - Roy Campanella and Dazzy Vance
1980 - Babe Herman, Sandy Koufax,
       Jackie Robinson and Zach Wheat

Orel Hershiser's minor league statistics were never eye-popping. Raised outside Philadelphia, Hershiser pitched for Cherry Hills East High School in New Jersey, and, undrafted, attended Bowling Green University, winning All-Metro Athletic Conference honors plus pitching for the All-American Amateur Baseball Association national champions in the summer of 1979.

He wasn't drafted until the 17th round in the 1979 minor league draft with some 287 players chosen before the Dodgers called his name.

His progress through the Dodger minor league system was steady but unspectacular, going 4-0 for Class A Clinton in 1979, spending two years at San Antonio, posting 7-6, 4.68 and a 9-6, 3.71 records in 1981-82.

He opened many eyes by winning the 1983 James and Dearie Mulvey award as the top rookie during spring training but started the season at AAA Albuquerque, where he finished seventh in the league with a 4.09 earned run average and a 10-8 record. He finished third in the PCL in saves with 16 and earned a promotion to Los Angeles at the end of the season, working eight innings in relief without a decision but earning his first major league save.

When the Dodgers stopped the Giants September 30th to clinch the Western Division title, it was Hershiser who nailed down the victory.

Jim Murray, writing in the Los Angeles Times, noted "Norman Rockwell would have loved him. The prevailing opinion is, he wasn't drafted, he just came walking off a Saturday Evening Post cover one day with a pitcher's glove, a cap 2 sizes too big and a balloon of bubble gum in his mouth."

He wore glasses, later switching to contact lenses, and Murray noted, "He can't really see without them and when he puts them on, people either think he's a sportswriter or a guy doing his thesis on major league baseball as a metaphor for the society we live in."

He opened the 1984 season as a member of the Dodgers' bullpen and earned his first win—in relief—on April 5 in Los Angeles over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Working mostly in relief early in the season, on June 29, he replaced Jerry Reuss in the lineup and in his first start beat the Cubs 7-1. That merited him a permanent spot in the rotation and he earned ‘Pitcher of the Month' honors in July after tossing four shutouts, five complete games, three two-hitters and recording a 6-1 record with two saves and an 0.94 ERA over his 11 appearances.

He started another 20 times, tying for the league lead in shutouts (4) and finishing third in ERA with a 2.66 while posting an 11-8 record.

In 1985 he won seven of his first nine decisions, pitching back-to-back shutouts against San Diego, limiting them to two hits the first time and a single hit the second.

"The only adjustment I've made from last year is being more aggressive on the first two pitches, going after more of the plate," he said in late June when he was 7-1 with a 2.10 ERA. The rap on him in 1984 was that he wasn't aggressive enough, that he was afraid to challenge hitters, that he was too nice a guy.

Then he embarked on a three-year streak that earned him the best Win Shares total of any National League pitcher, recording 20.6 (1987), 24.6 (1988) and 20.6 (1989). He made the N.L. All-Star team each year and led the league in innings pitched.

He was superb in 1987 recording a 19-3 mark, leading the league in winning percentage (.864) and innings pitched (239.2). He was again third in the league with a 2.06 ERA and was third in shutouts (5) and complete games (10).

He set a franchise record by going 11-0 with a 1.08 ERA at Dodger Stadium and was the winning pitcher October 2 when the Dodgers nailed down the division title with a 9-3 victory. Hershiser started Game 2 of the 1985 NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals, pitching an eight-hit complete game and knocking in a run to win, 8-2, at Dodger Stadium.

Back in Los Angeles for Game 6, with the Dodgers down three games to two, Hershiser took a 4-1 lead into the seventh but left with the score tied. The Dodgers regained the lead, but Tom Niedenfuer yielded a three-run homer to Jack Clark in the ninth, sending St. Louis to the World Series.

"He's gone from a pitcher people didn't know what to expect from to a pitcher people expect to produce a lot," catcher Mike Scioscia said. "Now he's one of the best in the league."

But even those glossy numbers were dimmed by an unbelievable 1988 performance when he put together what must rank among the best seasons in the history of the game.

He rang up a 23-8 record, the most wins for a Dodger since Sandy Koufax won 27 in 1966. He led the National League in shutouts (8), complete games and innings pitched (267); tied for the lead in complete games (15) and was third in the league in ERA (2.26).

As fine as his early-season performance was, Hershiser was on fire the final month, racking up 59 consecutive scoreless innings to beat the all-time mark of 58 2/3 set by Don Drysdale just 20 years earlier. He pitched five consecutive shutouts and broke the record with 10 scoreless innings in San Diego on September 28. During the streak he allowed only 31 hits and 11 walks. Over the final seven games he had an 0.59 ERA.

Hershiser began his streak in the final four innings of an August 30 win at Montreal. He then pitched five straight shutout victories, and went 10 scoreless innings in his final regular season start at San Diego on September 28.

Dodger broadcaster Drysdale was on hand to hug him when he came off the field after 10 scoreless innings and a new record of 59.

Hershiser extended his scoreless streak to 67 innings against the NY Mets in the NLCS with eight shutout frames in the opener before losing 3-2 in the ninth.

Hershiser started Game 3 at Shea Stadium on three days rest, but Dodger errors led to a pair of unearned run and he left for a pinch hitter after seven innings with a 3-3 tie and Dodgers lost 8-4.

In Game 4, Mike Scioscia's ninth inning two-run homer off Gooden forced extra innings, and Kirk Gibson's homer gave the Dodgers a 5-4 lead in the top of the twelfth.

The Dodger bullpen, minus Jay Howell who was suspended for using a foreign substance in his glove was in tatters. Orel quietly collected his gear and headed out to the bullpen.

And in the bottom of the 12th inning, with the Gibson homer giving the Dodgers a slim lead, he recorded the final out to earn a save despite having thrown eight innings the night before.

Three days later, in Game 7, Hershiser shut out the Mets on five hits, driving in a run and scoring one in a 6-0 win to send the Dodgers to the World Series.

He pitched four times in the League Championship Series against the Mets, allowing three runs in a record 24.2 innings while winning one (a shutout) and saving another. He was chosen the series MVP.

Against the favored Oakland Athletics in the World Series, Hershiser tossed a three-hit shutout, fanning eight, in Game 2, maintaining the momentum generated by Kirk Gibson's game-winning homer in bottom of the ninth in the opener. Dave Parker got all three hits for Oakland, and Hershiser matched him with a single and two doubles, scoring once and driving in a run.

In Game 5, Hershiser completed the stunning upset with a four-hitter, fanning nine in a 5-2 win, to collect the MVP hardware. He gave up only seven hits and two runs while beating the Oakland Athletics twice in the World Series as the Dodgers won in five games. He again won the ‘Most Valuable' title. With his shutout in the final game, he became the first to pitch shutouts in the League Championship Series and World Series in the same season.

During that remarkable post season, he appeared in six games, winning three and saving one while pitching 42.2 innings, striking out 32 and recording a 1.05 earned run average against two of the most powerful teams in Major League Baseball, the Mets and As, and adding two doubles, a single and two RBI.

Awards cascaded down on him following the season. He was the unanimous winner of the National League Cy Young Award, and won nearly everything else: Most Valuable Player Award in the league playoffs, Most Valuable Player Award in the World Series, Sports Illustrated's Sportsman-of-the-Year, The Sporting News Player-of-the-Year, Baseball America's NL Pitcher-of-the-Year and the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year and making the all-star teams of every paper in the world that covered baseball.

He also pitched extremely well in 1989, recording deceptive a 15-15 mark with a 2.31 ERA, second best in the National League. He led the league for the third straight year in innings pitched and was fourth in the Cy Young voting.

Heading into the 1990 season, he had a sparkling 2.69 career earned run average and an overall 98-64 won-lost record. But after four starts in 1990, he was 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA and an MRI showed damage in his right shoulder. Dr. Frank Jobe performed surgery and reconstructed the shoulder while tightening the ligaments.

He missed the remainder of the season and many wrote him off for good. Even after an off-season of intense rehabilitation, he opened the 1991 season on the disabled list. He pitched four times in the minor leagues before he was reinstated on May 29th when he faced the Astros and in his first start in 396 days, allowed four runs in four innings.

June 6, 1991, Hershiser pitched and batted the Dodgers to a 6-3 win over the Cubs to earn his 100th victory. He allowed two runs, six hits and fanned six in recording his first win since April 19, 1990.

"It was his 100th victory and that should tell it all," said manager Tom Lasorda. "I didn't think anybody though he could come back from that surgery, but knowing him, I said if anyone can do it, the ‘Bulldog' can."

Hershiser was 10-15 in 1992 with a 3.67 era in 33 starts. He led the Dodger staff with 210.2 innings and it marked the sixth time in his career he worked 200 or more innings.

He won his first start on April 7, a 3-0 victory over the Giants. It was the Dodgers' first win of the season and their 2,000th since moving to Los Angeles, the quickest any team has reached the 2,000 win level since divisional play stated in 1969.

Turning 35 late in the 1993 season, Hershiser led the pitching staff with five complete games, 33 starts and 215.2 innings pitched. He was 12-15 over the season and held opponents to two earned runs or less in 19 of his 33 starts.

He finished 6-6 in 1994, his 11th season as a Dodgers, but a shaky bullpen let him down. Five times he left the game with a lead only to see the win slip away later in the game.

After injuring a rib mid-way through the year he battled back, posting a 3-2 record with a 3.12 ERA in his final six starts and worked five hitless innings before allowing a pair in the sixth in his final start, a win at Colorado.

But the Dodgers thought he was finished and he became a free agent when the season ended.

But he won 45 games over three seasons for Cleveland, won 11 for the Giants and 13 for the Mets before he returned to Los Angeles for his final major league season in 2000.

Now pitching at age 41, he won the Dodgers home opener against Cincinnati 8-1, becoming the oldest in franchise history to win an opener.

But he had trouble in his next two starts and was knocked out in the second inning on June 24 by the Cardinals on a Mark McGwire home run. That seemed to be enough for the new Dodger front office and when they, inexplicably, gave him a "final chance" allowing him only one day's rest on June 26 he was predictably hit hard by the Padres and retired shortly after the game.

He finished his Dodger career ranked in many all-time categories on the pitching charts: 6th in games (353), 10th in innings pitched, sixth in wins (135), fifth in starts (309), sixth in strikeouts (1,433), sixth in shutouts (24), sixth in complete games (65) seventh in shutouts (24) and eighth in earned run average (3.12).

Always a fine hitter, he set a new Los Angeles record by banging out 26 hits in 73 times at bat for a .356 average (fifth all-time) after taking a .424 mark into late August and threatening the NL record of .406 set in 1923.
OREL HERSHISER   Hershiser, Orel Leonard  br tr   6-3  190
b-Sept. 16, 1958
Obtained-- Drafted No. 17 in the 1979 draft.
year  gm  in    w-l   bb  so  era
1983   8    8   0-0    6   5  3.38
1984  45  190  11-8   50 150  2.66
1985  36  240  19-3   68 157  2.03
1986  35  231  14-14  86 153  3.85
1987  37 *265  16-16  74 190  3.06
1988  35 *267 *23-8   73 178  2.26
1989  35  257  15-15  77 178  2.31
1990  42    5   1-1    4  16  4.26
1991  21  112   7-2   32  73  3.46
1992  33  211  10-15  69 130  3.67
1993  33  216  12-14  72  14 13.59
1994  21  135   6-6   42  72  3.79
2000  10   25   1-5   14  13  3.14

year  age  gm  inn w-l  bb  so  era
1985  27   2  15.1 1-0   6   5  3.52
1988  30   4  25   1-0   7  15  1.09
           6  40.1 2-0  13  20  2.03

year  age  gm  inn  w-l  bb  so  era
1988  30    2   18  2-0   6  17 1.00

Wallace Sidelined-- Dodger VP and pitching coach, Dave Wallace, now a pitching coach with the Red Sox, will miss a number of months after undergoing an operation for a hip infection. Wallace developed the hip infection about three weeks ago during his drive south for the start of spring training. The infection was related to a hip replacement he had about 10 years ago.

On Second Thought-- Oscar Robles changed his mind and decided not to participate for the Mexican national team in the World Baseball Classic. The versitile Mexican infielder started 31 gaes at third and 49 at shortstop last season and was the club leader in hits during the final two months of the season. With increased competition from newly-signed Ramon Martinez, Robles decided he should stick around and let the coaching staff get a good look at his talents, improving his chances to make the final roster. …

Staff Coming Together-- GM Ned Colletti continues to build his cabinet with the hiring of Bill Lajoie as senior advisor to the general manager and Phil Rizzo, who has been a scout for Arizona since 1999, as a Major League scout. Lajoie is no stranger to winning. He recently worked with Grady Little, had been a special advisor of baseball operations with the Boston Red Sox and will evaluate talent, monitor the Triple-A and Double-A affiliates, and serve as an extra set of eyes when the club is looking at players to acquire. He was general manager of the 1984 World Champion Detroit Tigers, was special assistant to the 1995 World Champion Atlanta Braves, and was special assistant to the general manager with the 2004 World Champion Red Sox won. He began his front office career in 1974 as Detroit's scouting director. Phil Rizzo will cover the Cactus League this spring, then work out of Chicago during the season.

Watch for This-- The Los Angeles Times reported, "Pitcher Brad Penny jokingly asked Little if he could steal bases this season. Little told Penny that he would have his own steal sign. When third base coach Rich Donnelly jumps up and doesn't come down, that's your steal sign," Little said.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt missed practice Friday to be inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. …Eric Gagne did not throw the day after a 20-pitch batting practice session, but said his arm felt fine. …Dodgers baserunning/bunting instructor Maury Wills, who had 586 career stolen bases, held a lengthy instructional session on a Dodgertown back field Friday to go over the finer points of baserunning. With Little having told him to take all the time he needed, Wills took at least 45 minutes, … Outfielder J.D. Drew, still celebrating the arrival his first child last weekend, joined workouts Friday. He said he won't immediately cut loose with throws after undergoing shoulder surgery, but he's fully healed from wrist surgery.Happy Birthday yesterday to former Brooklyn outfielder Andy Pafko (85) and first-year hitting coach Eddie Murray. Murray, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003, is one of only four players in baseball history to have 500 homers and 3,000 hits. The others are Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Rafael Palmeiro.