On Oct. 20, 1988, the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Game 5 to win the World Series. Orel Hershiser threw a complete game, and Mickey Hatcher and Mike Davis each homered in the Dodgers’ 5-2 victory.
Hershiser struck out nine, with perhaps none bigger than getting Dave Parker to chase a curveball in the dirt to end the eighth inning. That stranded runners on second and third base. Then in the bottom of the ninth, worked around an infield single and collected two more strikeouts.
“They’ve done it!” Vin Scully said on the NBC telecast when the final out was recorded. “Like the 1969 Mets, it’s the impossible dream revisited.”
The Dodgers’ 1988 season was nothing short of historic and included several awe-inspiring moments.
Hershiser and NL MVP Kirk Gibson led the team to a 94-win season and National League West title. Los Angeles was a heavy underdog but upset the New York Mets in seven games in the NL Championship Series.
The Mets defeated the Dodgers in 10 of 11 regular-season meetings that year. Los Angeles narrowly avoided a 3-1 deficit in the NLCS, thanks to Mike Scioscia’s game-tying home run off Dwight Gooden.
Game 1 of the World Series saw more heroics, with Gibson delivering the iconic pinch-hit, walk-off home run. Hershiser closed out the regular season with six straight shutouts and threw a complete-game shutout in Game 7 of the NLCS.
He matched that effort to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead in the World Series. After Oakland climbed back into the series with a win, the Dodgers overcame an injury to Mike Marshall in Game 4 to squeak out a 4-3 win.
Hershiser’s performance in Game 5 cemented the World Series MVP Award and earned the Dodgers their sixth World Series in franchise history. Prior to 1988 they were last crowned champions in 1981.
Hershiser was previously named the NLCS MVP, and went on to receive the NL Cy Young Award. The right-hander set an MLB record with 59 consecutive scoreless innings in 1988.
The season ended in stunning fashion for the A’s, who won 104 games and swept the the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series.