Dodgers History: Where Are These Former Stars Now?
Mike Piazza
RVR Photos/USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers are a team steeped in history and success, having won six World Series Championships and twelve National League Pennants since their move to California in 1958. With a roster that has boasted legendary names such as Sandy Koufax, Jackie Robinson, and Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers have long been associated with some of the greatest players in baseball history.

However, not all of the team’s former players have remained in the spotlight. Some have moved on to pursue different interests outside of baseball, while others have unfortunately found themselves on the wrong side of the law. In this article, we’ll look at five former Dodgers players, exploring their careers and what they’ve been up to since leaving the field. These players have all left their mark on the Dodgers’ history, from iconic figures to forgotten stars.

Orel Hershiser

Orel Hershiser, a former MLB pitcher and a beloved figure in the baseball world, has had an impressive career on and off the field. Hershiser was drafted by the Dodgers in the late rounds of the 1979 MLB Draft and made his major league debut on September 1, 1983, after being called up from the minor leagues. He quickly established himself as a valuable member of the Dodgers starting rotation, relying on a diverse pitching repertoire that included sinkers, cutters, changeups, curveballs, and sliders.

During his time with the Dodgers, Hershiser earned numerous accolades, including a World Series ring in 1988 and the title of World Series MVP. He also made the MLB All-Star team three years in a row and set a record of 59 consecutive scoreless innings pitched. Despite leaving the team in 1995 as a free agent, Hershiser returned for one final MLB season in 2000.

Following his retirement from baseball, Hershiser found work with ESPN and as a Texas Rangers front office member. However, his competitive spirit didn’t stop there. In 2006, he competed in a different World Series – the World Series of Poker. Six years later, Hershiser returned to the Dodgers organization, where he works as a broadcast team member. With a career spanning multiple industries, Hershiser’s legacy inspires fans on and off the field.

Eric Gagne

Eric Gagne, the Canadian-born pitcher, was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 1994; it was not until he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers as an amateur free agent the following year that his professional career began to take off. Despite struggling with injuries, including undergoing Tommy John surgery, Gagne made his Major League Baseball debut on September 7, 1999. Initially part of the Dodgers’ starting rotation, Gagne eventually found his niche as a reliever, where he would go on to have significant success.

While playing for the Dodgers, Gagne was a standout performer, winning two National League Rolaids Relief Man Awards, being named to the All-Star game three times, and winning the National League Cy Young Award in 2003. Despite these individual accolades, it was not until Gagne joined the Boston Red Sox in 2007 that he would win a World Series title. After playing for the Rangers, Boston Red Sox, and Milwaukee Brewers, Gagne returned to the Dodgers in 2010 before retiring.

Despite his retirement, Gagne missed the game and made several attempts at a comeback between 2015 and 2017, including playing in the World Baseball Classic. Following his final retirement, Gagne found work as a minor league coach for the Rangers, where he worked until the end of the 2019 season. Throughout his career, Eric Gagne was known for his impressive fastball, which helped him become one of the most dominant relief pitchers of his time.

Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig’s journey to the United States was not easy, but his perseverance paid off when he signed a lucrative deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012. Puig quickly made his presence known on the field, hitting grand slams and home runs and earning recognition as National League Player of the Month and National League Rookie of the Month in his first season.

Although his stats dipped slightly in his second year, Puig’s overall performance improved, leading to his National League All-Star team selection in 2014. The following year, he would hit a career-high 30 home runs and remain a key player for the Dodgers. However, his career would soon take a turn for the worse.

In 2018, Puig’s on-field performance began declining, and he became embroiled in an illegal sports betting scandal. These factors contributed to his eventual departure from the MLB, with Puig last playing for the Cleveland Indians. Despite a brief stint in Korea, Puig’s future in the game remains uncertain. It’s well known that problem gambling symptoms can have a disastrous impact on one’s life, and for Puig, it’s led to the possibility of facing up to five years in jail for his involvement in illegal sports betting. While his early success with the Dodgers was impressive, Puig’s career has been marred by controversy and legal issues.

Kirk Gibson

Former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Kirk Gibson may not have been named to an All-Star team, but he secured his place in baseball history with one of the most iconic moments in the sport’s history. After spending nine years with the Detroit Tigers, Gibson signed with the Dodgers as a free agent in 1988. He quickly established himself as a leader in the locker room and helped turn around a struggling team, leading them to a National League West title and a 94-67-1 record, which was third overall in the league. That year, Gibson also won the National League MVP, further cementing his status as a valuable player.

However, Gibson’s heroics during the postseason solidified his legacy. In Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, he made an amazing catch that was repeated repeatedly. But it was in the first game of the World Series against the Oakland A’s where he truly shone. Despite being injured and not even in the starting lineup, Gibson was called on to pinch-hit in the bottom of the ninth inning with the Dodgers down 4-3. With two outs and a 3-2 count, Gibson hit a walk-off home run to give the Dodgers a 5-4 victory. The Dodgers won the series 4-1, and Gibson’s home run remains one of the most memorable moments in baseball history.

After spending two more years with the Dodgers, Gibson went on to play for Kansas City and Pittsburgh before returning to Detroit to end his career in 1995. Since retiring, he has spent time in the broadcast booth, coaching and managing. In 2015, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s but remained a beloved baseball figure. Gibson currently serves as a color commentator and special assistant for the Detroit Tigers, where he began his career and won a World Series title.

Mike Piazza

Mike Piazza began his professional journey in the sport in 1988 when he was drafted in the 62nd round and 1390th overall by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Initially, Piazza was an infielder but switched to the position of a catcher, which eventually became his forte. He went on to have an illustrious career in baseball, making six National League All-Star teams in a Dodgers uniform.

In 2006, Piazza was honored to represent Team Italy in the inaugural World Baseball Classic. And now, in the spring of 2023, he will take on the role of manager of the Italian National team. Piazza has long been affiliated with the Italian National Baseball program, having played various roles with the team since retiring from the sport.

Even though Piazza’s success with the Dodgers, the organization and he could not agree on a contract extension, which led to his trade with the Miami Marlins and eventual move to the New York Mets. Though he would spend most of his career in New York, he also had one-year stints in San Diego and Oakland. In 2016, Piazza displayed class and gratitude towards the Dodgers organization during his Hall-of-Fame introduction speech. Since retirement, Piazza has ventured into different fields, including becoming the majority owner of an Italian soccer club.