Orel Hershiser became one of the best pitchers in Los Angeles Dodgers history during the 1980s. He was the ace of the team that won the World Series in 1988, the same year he won his only Cy Young Award.
After spending the later years of his career with the Cleveland Indians, San Franciso Giants and New York Mets, Hershiser returned to the Dodgers in 2000. Well past his prime, Hershiser made the Dodgers’ rotation but struggled mightily, and was put on the disabled list in mid-May with an ERA over 10.
Hershiser returned in June for three more starts, the last of which took place at Dodger Stadium on June 26 against the San Diego Padres.
The Padres rocked Hershiser for eight runs on six hits in an eventual 9-5 win. It would be Hershiser’s final appearance of his 17-year MLB career, ending it with the same team he spent his first nine years playing for.
Hershiser allowed a run in the first inning before a two-run home run by Bret Boone made it 3-0, Padres. Two more hits and another run later, Hershiser struck out Brian Meadows for the first out of the inning. It went down as his last strikeout in the Majors.
Hershiser lasted until Boone, in his second plate appearance of the inning, laced a two-run double to give the Padres an eight-run lead. Then-Dodgers manager Davey Johnson finally pulled Hershiser for reliever Carlos Perez.
Although Hershiser’s career ended inauspiciously, he remained around the Dodgers and retained his status as a franchise icon while also doing work as a broadcaster.
When SportsNet LA launched as the Dodgers’ official television network in 2014, Hershiser left ESPN to become one of its chief analysts. He mainly did studio work while assisting on road telecasts alongside play-by-play man Charley Steiner.
Hershiser was paired with Joe Davis when Davis was hired in 2016, and the two became SportsNet LA’s primary broadcast team after Vin Scully retired at the end of the season.
Already a favorite of both fans and legendary manager Tommy Lasorda, who affectionately called him by the nickname “Bulldog” on account of his toughness and fiery personality on the mound, Hershiser has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity since becoming the team’s main color analyst, solidifying his legacy as a Dodgers icon.