Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Tag: Orel Hershiser (Page 1 of 3)

Fernando’s 34 is being retired! Who’s next?

… It has been 45 years since the Dodgers made an exception to their policy of only retiring the jersey numbers of Hall of Famers, when in the throes of grief, they honored Jim Gilliam’s No. 19 after his sudden death during the 1978 World Series, nine days shy of his 50th birthday, In between, Gil Hodges became the 11th number retiree last summer to accompany his belated 2022 journey to Cooperstown. And now Fernando, whose prodigious workload early in his career forestalled him putting up the late-career numbers to make the Hall, will make it a dozen, joining Gilliam as an exception to the rule.

So many have hungered for this moment, and few would dispute its worthiness. On a practical level, the Dodgers haven’t given any player No. 34 since Valenzuela, so all that was missing was the official blessing.

At the same time, this opens a floodgate or two. However special the circumstances, no longer can the Dodgers hide from a clamor for other candidates. …

Read the rest at Slayed by Voices … 

The Hall of Fame, the Dodgers and the Harold Baines effect

So now Fernando Valenzuela has to get in. So now Gil Hodges has to get in. So now Orel Hershiser has to get in. So now Steve Garvey has to get in. So now …

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Hyun-Jin Ryu’s comeback unique in Dodger history

Since 2017, Hyun-Jin Ryu has a 113 ERA+ in 142 1/3 innings. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Sometime in the next six or 12 months, Julio Urías will attempt to return to the big leagues from major shoulder surgery.

In the meantime, with much less fanfare than one would anticipate for Urías, Hyun-Jin Ryu is making one of the most impressive and odds-defying comebacks ever by a Dodger pitcher.

Ryu is …

  • the first Dodger since Darren Dreifort to make 25 starts after missing more than a season with an injury. (Dreifort was actually a reliever in 1994-95 when he made his first extended stay on the disabled list.)
  • the first Dodger starting pitcher since Orel Hershiser to miss more than a year (April 1990-May 1991) and then return to the rotation to make at least 25 starts.
  • the first Dodger starting pitcher since Tommy John to sit out an entire season (1975) and then return to the rotation for at least 25 starts.

John went 21 months between starts, from July 17, 1974 to April 16, 1976. Ryu missed 22 months, from September 2014 to July 2016, made one MLB appearance — then went another nine months without throwing an official pitch.

And now, Ryu has thrown nearly 150 innings since nearly being mothballed. At least dating back to the franchise’s move to Los Angeles, no pitcher in a Dodger uniform (and there have been several remarkable ones, I hear) has done anything like it.

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Previewing Brothers in Arms
Part Five: El Toro and the Bulldog

Back before I settled on the idea of writing Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition (pre-order now!), I was toying with doing a biography on a single Dodger pitcher. And among my first choices were the two men who end up appearing together in “Part Five: El Toro and the Bulldog” … Fernando Valenzuela and Orel Hershiser.

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The Dodgers’ biggest win since 1988

NLDS-Game 5-Los Angeles Dodgers vs Washington Nationals
By Jon Weisman

As I sat watching Clayton Kershaw throwing those pitches in Washington, trying to protect a one-run lead and save the Dodgers’ season, of course my mind hearkened to 1988, when Orel Hershiser was doing the same thing in the 12th inning in New York.

But just as present was 2009, Jonathan Broxton trying to protect a one-run lead and save the Dodgers’ season in Philadelphia.

Part of the problem was I was literally in the exact same seat, in our little half-office at home, watching on the same 13-inch television purchased in an era closer to Tommy Lasorda than Dave Roberts. It was the same moment, the same prayers, the same brain-crushing line between agony and ecstasy.

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Orel Hershiser to get second look for Hall of Fame


By Jon Weisman

Dodger pitching great Orel Hershiser is one of five former Major Leaguers who will be considered for Hall of Fame election this winter.

Former Dodger manager Davey Johnson and coach Mark McGwire are also among the 10 names on the Today’s Game Era ballot that will be reviewed and voted upon December 5 at the Baseball Winter Meetings in National Harbor, Maryland, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced today.

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A Hill of beans in this crazy world

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Dodgers at Marlins, 10:10 a.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Josh Reddick, RF
Corey Seager, SS
Adrián González, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Joc Pederson, CF
Andre Ethier, LF
Howie Kendrick, 3B
Kenta Maeda, P

By Jon Weisman

I guess my wife and I picked the wrong day to take the family to Disneyland.

Exactly 51 years and one day after Sandy Koufax threw the last perfect game by a Dodger pitcher, Rich Hill nearly did the same (in a 5-0 Dodger victory). And in the process, he became the first Dodger pitcher since Hiroki Kuroda in 2008 to throw seven perfect innings — and the first ever to do so without facing another batter.

The controversy arose from the latter fact. In the overnight chatter since Hill was removed, many have had a chance to weigh in, and so with the Dodgers’ next game already about to start, I’m just going to highlight a few points …

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Video: Orel Hershiser meets Carl Reiner

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Carl Reiner doesn’t throw 94, but he is 94 — and he’s a legend. So even though he had to cancel his plans to throw the ceremonial first pitch Wednesday at Dodger Stadium, it was still great to see another legend, Orel Hershiser, meet him at his home for some pitching tips and a conversation about their careers.

Reiner wrote more than 50 episodes of his creation, “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” and directed such movies as “The Jerk,” “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid” and “All of Me.”

— Jon Weisman

A landslide of emotion for Vin Scully at LADF gala

By Jon Weisman

Stevie Nicks said she was backstage Thursday during the Los Angeles Dodger Foundation’s Blue Diamond Gala when she began to think about time. Nicks started performing with Mick Fleetwood nearly 50 years ago, and the years were something to contemplate.

And then her thoughts turned to Vin Scully, the night’s honoree whom the members of Fleetwood Mac met before their performance began, and his 67 seasons of service to the Dodgers, and she was blown away.

Nicks then dedicated the ballad “Landslide” to the Dodgers’ Hall of Fame announcer.

Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’
‘Cause I built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I’m getting older too

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When Orel Hershiser met 4-year-old Skip Schumaker

Skip Schumaker’s visit to Dodger Stadium today for Old-Timers Day led to this story by Orel Hershiser, shared on SportsNet LA after tonight’s 6-1 Dodger victory.

“He was about 4 years old,” Hershiser began. “I was walking out to my car, and there he was crying. I said, ‘What are you crying for?’ He said, ‘All those guys passed me and wouldn’t sign my glove.’ I said, ‘I’ll sign your glove – I’m somebody.’ So I signed the glove, ‘To Skip – a future big-leaguer.’ And the end of the story is, he showed me the picture.

“What happened (later) is, I got to throw out the first pitch in a playoff game, and I asked him — he was on the team, and Ned (Colletti) was the GM — and I said, ‘Will you catch it?’ And I brought the picture. And then, I signed that picture that day after throwing out the first pitch, and I said, ‘To Skip – from one big-leaguer to another.’

— Jon Weisman

Nine reasons not to give up on the Dodgers (for real)

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

So, something went awry Thursday with the Dodgers’ march to an 0-83 finish. They won.

Does that delay the inevitable? When the news came that Clayton Kershaw was going on the disabled list, that was the final straw on 2016 for some. Maybe many. Los Angeles Dodgers (2016-2016), RIP.

But yes, I’m here to remind you that there is reason not to give up. In fact, here are nine of them, one for every inning of this glorious, vexing game.

I offer these not because I’m blind to what can go wrong, but for those who are blind to what can go right.

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Trivia: Who was the last Dodger with a complete game and save in the same season?


Dodgers at Braves, 4:10 p.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Howie Kendrick, LF
Joc Pederson, CF
Ross Stripling, P

By Jon Weisman

I don’t really have a timely hook for the trivia question I’m posting here, other than the fact that tonight’s starter, Ross Stripling, could conceivably become the next answer — and that Thursday’s starter, Clayton Kershaw, really should someday.

But I was just curious: Who was the last Dodger pitcher to get a complete game and a save in the same season?

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Emotional first-pitch salute to Vin Scully opens 2016 season at Dodger Stadium

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By Jon Weisman

In a breathtaking experience that traversed Dodger history from Don Newcombe to Clayton Kershaw, Vin Scully received an emotional tribute before the first pitch of his final Opening Day at Dodger Stadium as the team’s broadcaster.

Al Michaels, who was considered by some a possible successor to Scully four decades ago, hosted the tribute that mixed video (including messages from Henry Aaron and Kirk Gibson) with live presentations.

The roll call of Dodgers that took the field went as follows: Newcombe, Maury Wills, Sandy Koufax, Al Downing, Rick Monday, Ron Cey, Steve Garvey, Bill Russell, Fernando Valenzuela, Orel Hershiser, Tommy Lasorda and Kershaw, with Magic Johnson and Peter O’Malley then escorting Scully on to the hallowed stadium grass, before an enormous standing ovation from the crowd.

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Top series by Jon SooHoo, bottom by Juan Ocampo

A baseball autographed by every participant was then passed down the line to Scully, who truly looked moved by the moment and said afterward he was “overwhelmed.”

Watching him from ground level, as the scoreboard camera circled around him for its closeup, I never felt more how much of a living legend we were privileged to know, and to call our own.


Scully, Jarrin, Hershiser, Monday win kudos at Southern California Sports Broadcaster Awards

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Photos by Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers BroadcastersBy Jon Weisman

Vin Scully won two awards for best play-by-play — in radio and in television — at the 25th annual Southern California Sports Broadcaster Awards, announced today at the Lakeside Golf Club.

Jaime Jarrin was named best foreign-language play-by-play announcer, while Orel Hershiser was the winner in TV color analysis and Rick Monday in radio color commentary.

Scully, Jarin and Monday are all in the organization’s Hall of Fame.

Scully has won the radio award, named in honor of Chick Hearn, 18 times since its inception in 1991, and the TV award 13 times. (Winners of three consecutive awards in a category are not eligible to repeat for one year.)

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 9.07.43 PMJarrin won his ninth career award since foreign-language broadcasters were first recognized in 2003, and Monday his fifth.

Ann Meyers Drysdale also received a special award, the Chuck Benedict/Stu Nahan President’s Award, while former Dodger executive Tommy Hawkins won the Gil Stratton Lifetime Achievement Award.

Greinke won last Dodger Stadium elimination game

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Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

It has been just under two years since fans came to Dodger Stadium knowing that their team had to win or the season would end. The starting pitcher that day, as it will be today (only with more hair), was Zack Greinke.

With the Dodgers having lost three of their first four games to the Cardinals in the National League Championship Series, Greinke took the mound on October 16, 2013 and pitched seven innings of two-run ball in a 6-4 Dodger victory.

In fact, the pitcher who threw out the ceremonial first pitch that day will do so again tonight: 1988 playoff hero Orel Hershiser.

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