1988 Los Angeles Dodgers season
|1988 Los Angeles Dodgers|
|1988 World Series Champions|
|Major League affiliations|
|General manager(s)||Fred Claire|
(Rick Monday, Tony Hernandez)
(Jaime Jarrín, René Cárdenas)
|Previous season Next season|
The 1988 season was a memorable one for the Dodgers as a squad that was picked to finish fourth wound up winning the World Series, beating the heavily favored New York Mets and Oakland Athletics on the way. Kirk Gibson carried the Dodger offense, winning the National League Most Valuable Player Award. Orel Hershiser dominated on the mound, throwing a record 59 consecutive scoreless innings on his way to winning the Cy Young Award.
- 1 Offseason
- 2 Regular season
- 3 Season summary
- 4 Player stats
- 5 Pitching
- 6 1988 Playoffs
- 7 1988 Awards
- 8 Farm system
- 9 References
- 10 External links
- December 11, 1987: Acquired Alfredo Griffin, Jay Howell and Jesse Orosco in a three-team deal with the Oakland Athletics and New York Mets for Bob Welch, Jack Savage and Matt Young
- January 29, 1988: Kirk Gibson was signed as a Free Agent.
- April 1, 1988: Acquired John Gibbons from the New York Mets for Craig Shipley
With the sub-par 1987 performance fresh in their minds, General Manager Fred Claire and Field Manager Tom Lasorda knew what needed to be fixed. They started the off-season by allowing poor performers such as Glenn Hoffman, Ken Landreaux and Phil Garner explore the free agent market. On December 11, 1987, Claire pulled the trigger on a trade that helped solidify the Dodgers’ defense and bullpen, despite giving up one of the top pitchers of the National League in 1987 in Bob Welch. The Dodgers acquired shortstop Alfredo Griffin and relief pitchers Jay Howell and Jesse Orosco in a three-team trade ironically with the Athletics and Mets, the two teams they would eventually defeat in the ’88 postseason. In an attempt to boost the offense for the upcoming season, the Dodgers signed Mike Davis on December 15, 1987. The biggest move of the off-season was still to come.
On January 29, 1988, the Dodgers signed free agent slugger Kirk Gibson from the Detroit Tigers. Gibson, who was a 9 year veteran at the time of the signing, was known for his power at the plate and speed on the basepaths, but was also brought in to be a clubhouse leader. To help solidify their roster the Dodgers went on to sign 21-year veteran pitcher Don Sutton and 20-year veteran catcher Rick Dempsey. Dempsey, known for his fiery personality, joined Gibson as the veteran clubhouse leaders.
It was Gibson, however, who would make the biggest impact. Some spring training instances brought this out, as follows:
-One day, newly acquired shortstop Alfredo Griffin was pitching batting practice and was lobbing his pitches to the plate, presenting no challenge to the hitters, at least on the pitches he got over the plate. A frustrated Gibson yelled, "Why the (expletive) do we take batting practice if we aren't getting anything out of it?"
-Preparing for his first spring training game as a Dodger, Gibson began his pregame warm-ups in the outfield. Taking off his hat to wipe sweat from his head, Gibson noticed people laughing. He soon realized that someone had greased the inside of his cap with eyeblack and he had unknowingly wiped it all over himself. He immediately took off for the visitors' clubhouse, warning manager Tommy Lasorda on the way, "Tommy, you find out (expletive) did this, because I'm going to tear his head off!" Lasorda tried to smooth things over, and culprit Jesse Orosco eventually tried to apologize, but to no avail.
-Finally, the Dodgers used to play a game called "flinch", where a person would fake throwing a punch at another and, if the other person flinched, the one who faked the blow would get to punch the other in the chest. Orel Hershiser tried this with Gibson, and Gibson responded by shoving Hershiser with his forearm ("forearm shiver") and telling him sternly, "I don't play 'Flinch'!"
All of the above instances served notice that Gibson came to the Dodgers to win, and if Gibson was going to be serious about it, all the other players had better be, too.
Key player from the 1987 team were also brought back. These players included right fielder Mike Marshall, center fielder John Shelby, catcher Mike Scioscia, Second Baseman Steve Sax, Utilityman Mickey Hatcher, and pitchers Orel Hershiser, Fernando Valenzuela, and Tim Leary.
|Los Angeles Dodgers||94||67||--||.584|
|San Diego Padres||83||78||11.0||.516|
|San Francisco Giants||83||79||11.5||.512|
Opening Day lineup
1988 Los Angeles Dodgers
- June 1, 1988: 1988 Major League Baseball Draft notable picks:
- June 6, 1988: Raúl Mondesí was signed as an amateur free agent by the Dodgers.
- June 27, 1988: Mario Soto was signed as a free agent by the Dodgers.
- August 10, 1988: Don Sutton was released by the Dodgers.
- August 16, 1988: Acquired John Tudor from the St. Louis Cardinals for Pedro Guerrero
- August 30, 1988: Shawn Hillegas was traded by the Dodgers to the Chicago White Sox for Ricky Horton.
- October 3, 1988: Acquired Jim Neidlinger from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Bill Krueger
The Dodgers started the 1988 season at home against the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers opening day pitcher was Valenzuela. The opening day lineup featured Sax, Griffin, Gibson, Marshall, Shelby, Davis, Scioscia and Third Baseman Pedro Guerrero. The season started off with a bang as the first pitch of the season, to Sax by Giants pitcher Dave Dravecky, was hit into the Left Field seats at Dodger Stadium. However, Valenzuela would then give up the lead and the Dodgers would eventually lose the game 5-1. Fortunately for Dodger fans, the team would go onto win their next five games and finish April with a 13-7 record which included a four game sweep of the Atlanta Braves. Hershiser finished the month of April with a 5-0 record.
The Dodgers went 14-13 during the month of May. As it had always been, May was one of the toughest months for the Dodgers. On May 21, 1988, Griffin was hit by a pitch from Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden on the hand. Griffin would miss over two months with a broken hand. This heated up the Dodger-Met rivalry which would last the remainder of the season. In fact, the next day, May 22, 1988, Mets starting pitcher David Cone hit Pedro Guerrero in the head in the 6th inning. As a show of disgust at what the Dodgers felt was headhunting by the Mets pitchers, Guerrero proceeded to stand up, throw his bat in Cone's direction and charge the mound. A benches clearing mêlée ensued and Guerrero and Lasorda were ejected from the game. Because Griffin had to be placed on the disabled list with a broken hand the Dodgers were left with a hole at shortstop. Luckily, the Dodgers had a solid replacement at shortstop in the form of veteran Dave Anderson. At times during May, the lead over the Astros neared five games. By the end of the month the Dodgers’ lead in the NL West Division was only a half of a game over the Houston Astros.
The Dodgers had a solid month of June compiling a record of 17-9 over the month. Hershiser continued his successful year by finishing the month of June with a record of 12-3. Much of the Dodgers’ success to this point in the season could be attributed to solid starting pitching from Hershiser, Leary and the emerging rookie Tim Belcher. However, the horses of the Dodgers’ pitching staff were those who came out of the bullpen. Orosco, Howell, Brian Holton and Alejandro Peña were all enjoying successful seasons. In addition, Right Fielder Marshall was in the midst of a career year. He had a batting average of .327 with three home runs in the month of June.
The summer success continued for the Dodgers as they completed August with a 17-12 record.
Dramatic summer moments
Many who have followed the Dodgers have pointed to a few moments during the months of July and August the got the season going in the right direction, keep the successes going and exemplified what the 1988 Dodgers were all about.
- July 6, 1988- Down 3-0 in the bottom of the 8th inning against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Dodgers scored three runs then Anderson, Mike Sharperson and Sax loaded the bases. The Cardinals would bring in closer Todd Worrell in an attempt to snuff out the rally. However, First Baseman Franklin Stubbs would drive a Worrell offering into the right field seats for a game winning grand slam.
- August 13, 1988- The Dodgers and Giants take the Dodger Stadium fans to the 11th inning with a tie. Guerrero starts the Dodgers side of the 11th inning with a fly ball to right that Giants outfielder Candy Maldonado loses in the lights. A passed ball allows Guerrero to go to second. However, Guerrero and Lasorda are then ejected from the game arguing that the Giants’ pitcher had balked. Because of this, Stubbs had to pinch run for Guerrero leaving the Dodgers with no additional pinch hitters on their bench. When pitcher Alejandro Peña's batting spot comes around in the lineup they are forced to pinch hit for him with another pitcher, Tim Leary. Amazingly, Leary singled back up the middle and Stubbs scored giving the Dodgers the extra inning walk off win.
- A week after Leary's dramatic game-winning hit, the Dodgers were at it again with another dramatic walk off win. The Dodgers entered the bottom of the 9th at Dodger Stadium trailing the Montreal Expos 3-2. The Expos brought in Joe Hesketh to close out the game. After getting Sax out, Hesketh allowed Mickey Hatcher to double. Anderson ran for Hatcher and Kirk Gibson singled home Anderson. One out later with John Shelby at the plate, Gibson stole second base. With John Shelby at the plate, Hesketh threw a wild pitch through catcher Nelson Santovenia. Gibson advanced to third but did not stop there; the former linebacker kept going, charging toward the plate that was being covered by pitcher Hesketh. Santovenia threw back to Hesketh but Gibson beat the throw to the plate giving the Dodgers the win. Gibson later revealed that part of his reasoning for attempting to take home was that he knew Hesketh had suffered a broken leg earlier in his career and Gibson felt he would not be willing to risk a collision by stepping into the basepath to block off the plate.
Hershiser would begin a scoreless inning streak in September that he would eventually take to over 59 innings and pass Dodger legend Don Drysdale for the record for most consecutive scoreless innings. Hershiser would throw complete game shutouts against the Braves on September 5, the Reds on September 10, the Braves again on September 14, the Astros on September 19 and the Giants on September 23 to take him within 9 innings of Drysdale's record. Before Hershiser would get a chance to break the record the Dodgers needed to clinch the National League West Championship. Their chance came in San Diego on September 26. The San Diego Padres would take a 2-0 lead in the first inning. But the Dodgers would get 3 runs back and win the game 3-2, clinching the division. Hershiser would get his next start on September 28 and he would pitch 10 scoreless innings against the Padres to break Drysdale's record.
Starters by position
Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At Bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting Average; HR = Home Runs; RBI = Runs Batted In
Note: G = Games played; AB = At Bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting Average; HR = Home Runs; RBI = Runs Batted In
National League Championship Series
The Dodgers faced the New York Mets in the LCS. The Mets had dominated the Dodgers during the regular season, winning 10 out of 11 meetings and were heavy favorites going into the series. But the Dodgers, led by series MVP Orel Hershiser (who pitched a complete game shutout in game 7) won the series 4 games to 3.
|WP: Randy Myers (1-0) LP: Jay Howell (0-1)
|WP: Tim Belcher (1-0) LP: David Cone (0-1) Sv: Alejandro Peña (1)
NYM: Keith Hernandez (1)
|WP: Randy Myers (2-0) LP: Alejandro Peña (0-1)
|WP: Alejandro Peña (1-1) LP: Roger McDowell (0-1) Sv: Orel Hershiser (1)
LA: Mike Scioscia (1), Kirk Gibson (1)
NYM: Darryl Strawberry (1), Kevin McReynolds (1)
|WP: Tim Belcher (2-0) LP: Sid Fernandez (0-1) Sv: Brian Holton (1)
LA: Kirk Gibson (2)
NYM: Lenny Dykstra (1)
|WP: David Cone (1-1) LP: Tim Leary (0-1)
NYM: Kevin McReynolds (2)
|WP: Orel Hershiser (1-0) LP: Ron Darling (0-1)
1988 World Series
The Dodgers were again heavy underdogs in the World Series against the Oakland Athletics, led by sluggers Mark McGwire and José Canseco. However, the Dodgers won the series in five games thanks to Kirk Gibson's pinch-hit game winning homer in the first game off of Dennis Eckersley and the continued mastery of series MVP Orel Hershiser.
|WP: Alejandro Peña (1-0) LP: Dennis Eckersley (0-1)
OAK: José Canseco (1)
LA: Mickey Hatcher (1), Kirk Gibson (1)
|WP: Orel Hershiser (1-0) LP: Storm Davis (0-1)
LA: Mike Marshall (1)
|WP: Rick Honeycutt (1-0) LP: Jay Howell (0-1)
OAK: Mark McGwire (1)
|WP: Tim Belcher (1-0) LP: Dave Stewart (0-1) Sv: Jay Howell (1)
|WP: Orel Hershiser (2-0) LP: Storm Davis (0-2)
LA: Mickey Hatcher (2), Mike Davis (1)
Teams in BOLD won League Championships
- 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers uniform
- Los Angeles Dodgers official web site
- Baseball-Reference season page
- Baseball Almanac season page
San Francisco Giants
|NL West Division
San Francisco Giants
St. Louis Cardinals
|National League Championship Season
San Francisco Giants