Mickey Hatcher’s two World Series home runs in 1988 are well known, as is the fact that he only hit one regular-season homer that season. But do you remember the significance of that one homer?
It didn’t come until September 23, but it was a big one. In the season’s 154th game, Hatcher broke a scoreless tie in the eighth with a three-run shot at San Francisco to give Orel Hershiser his 23rd and final victory of ’88.
The win also reduced the Dodgers’ magic number in the National League West to two. Los Angeles clinched a tie for the division title the next day, and wrapped up the division outright on September 26.
You’ll recall that Hershiser went 10 innings in his next and last start of the regular season, at San Diego, to break Don Drysdale’s record for consecutive scoreless innings. If not for Hatcher’s homer, might Hershiser, who threw 112 pitches in his 3-0 shutout victory against the Giants, have gone extra innings in this one?
Footnote: How many games did Hatcher play in during the 1988 regular season? Answer: 88.