September 16, 1958 |
Buffalo, New York
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|September 1, 1983 for the Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|June 26, 2000 for the Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Earned run average||3.48|
|Career highlights and awards|
Orel Leonard Hershiser IV (born September 16, 1958) is an American former Major League Baseball starting pitcher. He is currently an analyst for Baseball Tonight and Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN and a professional poker player for PokerStars. Hershiser was a three-time All-Star and won the Gold Glove, Cy Young Award, NLCS MVP and World Series MVP with the Dodgers in 1988. He also holds the Major League record for most consecutive scoreless innings pitched, pitching 59 consecutive innings without giving up a run from August 30, 1988 to September 28, 1988.
Known for his slight frame and fierce competitive spirit, Hershiser was nicknamed "Bulldog" by former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, who managed Hershiser during his time with the Dodgers.
Early life 
Hershiser was born in Buffalo, New York to Mildred I. Gillman and Orel Leonard Hershiser III.[original research?] From 1973 to 1975, he participated in ice hockey with the Don Mills Flyers of the Greater Toronto Hockey League. He attended Cherry Hill High School East in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, where he was the star pitcher on the school's baseball team. He played at Bowling Green State University, where he first caught the attention of pro scouts as a pitcher. He was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.
Baseball career 
Minor league career 
Hershiser was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 17th round of the 1979 amateur draft and was assigned to their Class A farm team, Clinton Dodgers. He spent four more seasons in the minor leagues with AA San Antonio Dodgers and Triple-A Albuquerque Dukes before being called up to the major leagues.
Major League career 
Early success 
Hershiser was called up to the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 1, 1983. He began as a middle reliever in 1984, and he went 11–8 with a 2.66 ERA and four shutouts. He became a full-fledged starter in the Dodger rotation on July 14, 1984.
He had a breakthrough season in 1985 when he led the National League (NL) in winning percentage, compiling a 19–3 record with a 2.03 ERA. The Dodgers won the NL West, and Hershiser finished third in Cy Young Award voting.
Hershiser arguably put together one of the best single seasons in pitching history in 1988. That year, he led the league in wins (23), innings (267), and complete games (15). He finished the season with a record 59 consecutive scoreless innings pitched, breaking the mark of 58 held by former Dodger Don Drysdale. (He would then add 8 more scoreless innings in his next start, Game 1 of the NLCS, but the post-season innings do not count toward the record.) He also won his first Gold Glove. He was unanimously selected as the Cy Young Award winner, with a record of 23–8 and a 2.26 ERA.
In the 1988 National League Championship Series between Hershiser's Dodgers and the New York Mets, Hershiser not only started Games 1 and 3, but recorded the final out in Game 4 in relief for a save. He then pitched a shutout in Game 7. He was selected MVP of the series.
Hershiser then capped his historic season in the World Series by pitching a shutout in Game 2 and allowing two runs in a complete game in the clinching victory in Game 5, winning the World Series MVP Award.
Hershiser is the only player to receive the Cy Young Award, the Championship Series MVP Award, and the World Series MVP Award in the same season. He later received both The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year and Sports Illustrated magazine's Sportsman of the Year award for his accomplishments in 1988.
Post-1988 with the Dodgers 
In 1989, Hershiser's performance on the mound was very similar to his previous year's effort. However, much like in '86 and '87, he suffered from a lack of offense from the Dodgers. His average run support fell from 4.05 runs/start in 1988 to 3.19 in 1989. His ERA was virtually unchanged in 1989, rising only to 2.31 from 2.26, while league average ERA rose from 3.35 to 3.43. His win-loss record plummeted to 15–15. The scoreless innings streak ended on April 5, 1989, in Cincinnati. Barry Larkin ended the string in the top of the first by singling, moving to second on an errant pickoff throw by Hershiser, and scoring on a Todd Benzinger single. However, he did strike out Chris Sabo and Eric Davis prior to Benzinger's streak-breaking RBI.
After averaging over 250 innings per season from 1985 to 1989, Hershiser suffered a career-threatening injury when he tore the rotator cuff in his pitching arm on April 25, 1990, against the St. Louis Cardinals. He missed 13 months before coming back on May 29, 1991. He went 7–2 as the Dodgers finished in second place, losing the division title to the Atlanta Braves on the penultimate day of the season.
He pitched for the Dodgers through the 1994 season.
Cleveland Indians 
Hershiser was named the MVP of the 1995 American League Championship Series against the Seattle Mariners, and is currently the only player to have won the LCS MVP Award in both leagues. He pitched two more seasons for the Indians, and was 14–6 for the pennant-winning team in 1997.
Though he pitched for the Indians for only three seasons, Hershiser became something of a folk hero in Cleveland and remains one today. One memorable image from his tenure is of Hershiser screaming "Take that!" at the Atlanta Braves dugout after starting a 1-3 double play late in game five of the 1995 World Series.
Later career 
Hershiser appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated three times: twice by himself, and once in a group photo with other Dodgers while celebrating the 1988 World Series victory.
In October 2005 Hershiser was a finalist to replace Jim Tracy as manager of the Dodgers, but instead opted to resign from his job as the Rangers pitching coach and join their front office as Executive Director. Grady Little was eventually hired by the Dodgers instead. As of October 2006 Hershiser was mentioned as a possible replacement for Ken Macha of the Oakland Athletics; however, he was ultimately passed over for Bob Geren.
In early February 2006, after joining the front office of the Texas Rangers, Hershiser resigned from his Executive Director position. And on February 13, 2006, Hershiser announced he would be rejoining ESPN as a baseball analyst for Baseball Tonight and Wednesday Night Baseball. He and partner Dan Shulman switched to Monday Night Baseball in 2008. In conjunction with his duties at ESPN, Hershiser has been color commentator at the Little League World Series for several years[quantify], stating at least once that it is his favorite broadcasting assignment.
On March 4, 2010 Hershiser was named as the third man (with Jon Miller and Joe Morgan) on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball telecasts. On December 1, 2010 Hershiser, Bobby Valentine and Dan Shulman were named as ESPN's new Sunday Night Baseball crew for the 2011 MLB season.
Through a group which included fellow former Dodger Steve Garvey, Hershiser became involved in the bidding process for the Dodgers when the team was up for sale in 2012. His group did not make it past the first round of the bidding.
Pitching style 
Hershiser was not an overpowering pitcher, but, like Greg Maddux, he developed a variety of pitches and used his brain to outwit hitters.[peacock term] Hersisher explained his pitch repertoire in 1989 as such:
- I have a sinking fastball to either side of the plate, a cutter (which changes the direction of my fastball so it breaks instead of sinking), to either side of the plate, a curveball I throw at three speeds and three angles, a straight change — using the same arm speed and position as a fastball but with a grip and a release that slows it dramatically, and changeups to different locations that I throw off my sinker which look like batting practice fastballs. Different locations, different speeds, and slightly different arm angles on all those pitches give me a wide palette of choices.
By 1999, he noted that his pitches were not as sharp, so he added a slider to the mix. He also emphasized locating his pitches in good spots: "You'll hear pitchers say, 'I had great stuff and got shelled,' but you never hear them say, 'I had great location and got shelled.'"
Career statistics 
In his career, Hershiser had a 204–150 regular season record with 2,014 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.48.
He was one of the better-hitting pitchers of his era: he got 163 hits in 810 at-bats, for a .201 batting average, with no home runs and 50 RBIs. In 1993, when he batted .356 (26 hits in 73 at-bats), he won a Silver Slugger award.
Hershiser started playing poker competitively in 2006. After retirement from baseball he moved to Las Vegas and befriended a poker instructor. He has become a regular at Red Rock’s poker room in Las Vegas, playing $2–$5 NLHE. In the baseball off-season, he plays about five days per week. And even during baseball season when he flies to the ESPN studios several days a week, he still manages to get in one or two sessions a week. Soon[when?], Hershiser was known as The Bulldog at the poker table.
Hershiser signed with Poker Royalty to represent his poker career. He was invited to participate in the 2008 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship. Playing under the PokerStars banner. Hershiser stunned the poker world by making the quarterfinals, defeating 2006 event champion Ted Forrest, Allen Cunningham, and Freddy Deeb—players who had won a total of 12 World Series of Poker bracelets heading into the event. Andy Bloch defeated him in the quarterfinals.
After his finish in the 2008 NBC Heads-Up Championship, Hershiser signed a deal to become a professional poker player with PokerStars under the screen name ‘O. Hershiser’.[verification needed] Since signing with Friends of PokerStars, Hershiser has played in a number of events, including the 2008 World Series of Poker and the 2009 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Hershiser won $54,570 on September 7, 2008 by taking ninth place in the $10,000 Pokerstars World Championship of Online Poker Event 5. Hershiser also has made a tradition of giving an autographed baseball to the poker player that eliminates him.
Hershiser was married to Jamie Byars from February 7, 1981, until their divorce in 2005. He lives in Las Vegas. They have two sons, Orel Leonard V (known as Quinton) and Jordan. Jordan graduated from St. Mark's School of Texas in Dallas in 2007, and played college baseball at the University of Southern California as a pitcher and first baseman. Jordan played for the Madison Mallards in the Summer Collegiate Northwoods League and the East Texas Pumpjacks of the Texas Collegiate League. Jordan was drafted by the Dodgers in the 34th round of the 2012 MLB Draft.
He was a guest star on an episode of the Christian children's video series The Adventures of McGee and Me entitled Take Me Out of the Ball Game. He was also seen singing hymns to stay relaxed in the dugout during the 1988 World Series. On a subsequent appearance on The Tonight Show, Johnny Carson talked him into singing one for the audience.
In 2007, Hershiser competed in the World Series of Blackjack Tournament in Las Vegas.
In an ESPN Broadcast on August 19, 2010 of the Little League World Series, he admitted to having a dirt bike crash in terrain in Wyoming while visiting his fiance's family, requiring a soft cast and "a plate and several pins" in his left forearm. He apparently flipped over the handlebars to the left side without tucking his arm underneath him.
- Orel Hershiser and Jerry B. Jenkins (1989). Out of the Blue. Wolgemuth & Hyatt. ISBN 0-943497-57-4.
- Orel Hershiser (2002). Between the Lines: Nine Things Baseball Taught Me About Life. Warner Faith. ISBN 0-446-67907-0.
See also 
- List of MLB individual streaks
- List of Major League Baseball leaders in career wins
- List of Major League Baseball wins champions
- MLB All-Time Hit Batsmen List
- Top 100 strikeout pitchers of all time
- "RootsWeb". Freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com. Retrieved March 22 2009.
- "Players and Volunteers". York Mills Hockey Club. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
- George, Thomas (13 October 1988). "Hershiser Passes Final Exam". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 December 2007. "Consider that Hershiser - 30 years old, 6 feet 3 inches, 192 pounds, born in Buffalo and a prep pitcher at Cherry Hill (N.J.) East High - was 14–14 and 16–16 in the last two seasons for teams that finished 16 games under .500."
- Urban, Mychael (26 October 2006). "Hershiser, Quirk up for managerial job". MLB.com. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
- "Orel Hershiser joining Steve Garvey-led team exploring possibility of purchasing Dodgers should franchise go up for sale". Los Angeles, CA: Daily News. 5 June 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
- Jackson, Tony (28 January 2012). "Source: Dodgers begin narrowing bids". ESPNLosAngeles.com (ESPN.Go.com). Retrieved 17 August 2012.
- Keown, Tim (5 June 1998). "Mind Over Batter; Hershiser's brain a key to his success with Giants". San Francisco Chronicle (SFGate.com). Retrieved 25 May 2012.
- James, Bill; Neyer, Rob (15 June 2004). The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers: An Historical Compendium of Pitching, Pitchers, and Pitches. Simon and Schuster. pp. 241–242. ISBN 9780743261586. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
- Anderson, Dave (4 July 1999). "Hershiser's Best Pitch Is His Brainball". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
- Newell, Jennifer (May 2008). "KING OF Diamonds". PokerPro Magazine.
- "Professional Poker Player Orel Hershiser".
- Wise, Gary (2 March 2008). "Two days and a busted bracket". ESPN.Go.com. Retrieved 4 March 2008.
- Wise, Gary (4 March 2008). "A great event and a deserving champion". ESPN.Go.com. Retrieved 4 March 2008.
- "Jason Alexander".
- "Dorinvandy Wins; Chris "Money800" Moneymaker, Orel Hershiser Make Deep Run in WCOOP #5". 8 September 2008.
- "IMDB Biography for Orel Hershiser". Retrieved 14 August 2010.
- "Orel Hershiser". Brooks International. Retrieved 17 August 2012.>
- Deninno, Nadine (13 January 2012). "Tebowing: Tim Tebow Did Not Create Pose, Orel Hershiser Did". Sports & Stars (IBTimes.com). Retrieved 17 August 2012.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
- Hershiser joins ESPN
- Orel Hershiser: Behind the Dugout
- Orel Hershiser ESPN Bio