This Day In Dodgers History: Orel Hershiser Signed Contract Extension To Become First $3 Million Player

On February 16, 1989, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed Orel Hershiser to a record-setting three-year, $7.9 million contract extension. The terms of the deal included a $1.1 million signing bonus, and base salaries of $2.4 million in 1989, $1.6 million in 1990 and $2.8 million in 1991.

Because his signing bonus was divided equally over the three seasons, Hershiser’s salary in 1990 came out to $3,166,000, making him the first $3 million player in MLB history. Hershiser’s $2.76 million salary for the 1989 season also marked a new MLB record.

Hershiser went 23-8 with a 2.26 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 15 complete games and eight shutouts in 35 games (34 starts) during the 1988 season. He led the league in wins, complete games, shutouts and innings pitched (267).

Hershiser made history as he strung together a record streak of 59 scoreless consecutive innings that began on Aug. 30, 1988, when he finished off a complete game against the Montreal Expos with four shutout innings.

The 1988 postseason saw Hershiser appear in four National League Championship Series games (three starts), logging 24.2 innings and pitching to a 1.05 ERA against the New York Mets. He later tossed nine shutout innings against the Oakland Athletics in Game 2 of the World Series, and held them to two runs in another complete game to win the Fall Classic in five games.

Hershiser earned NLCS and World Series MVP honors for his performances. At the end of the season he was also named the unanimous winner of the 1988 NL Cy Young Award and took home his first career Gold Glove Award.

Hershiser’s career with Dodgers

Hershiser was selected by the Dodgers in the 17th round of the 1979 MLB Draft and would make his debut four years later. He spent 13 of his 18 big league seasons in L.A., going 135-107 with a 3.12 ERA, 3.28 FIP, 1.21 WHIP and 1,456 strikeouts over 2,180.2 innings pitched (353 games, 309 starts).

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