Player of the Week: Orel "Bulldog" Hershiser
Born in Buffalo, New York Orel Hershiser ended his professional career with an ERA of 3.48 and a Win-Loss record of 204-150. He pitched 18 years in the MLB, from 1983-2000 after spending several years in the minor league system. He began his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers as he was their 17th round pick in the 1979 MLB draft. He was moved around from 1995 to 1999 jumping from team to team and finally landed back with the Dodgers for his final season in 2000.
Orel made his Dodgers debut on September 1st, 1983 which is the same day he was called up. He did not have the best performance however in the off season he went to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic and spent time with the pitching coach to work on mechanics. Believe it or not, Hershiser’s scouting report was not the best, it had reports that he had poor control of the ball and would get rattled easily and we all know that the game of baseball is for the most part all mental. Having this type of scouting report and first outing, caused Dodgers manager at the time, Tommy Lasorda to give Orel a nickname. Thus the “Bulldog” was born.
When asked why he gave Hershiser the nickname, Lasorda responded that he gave it to him because he wanted Hershiser to have more attitude on the mound. As a pitcher, you control the game, you are in charge. If a pitcher is hesitant, timid and stepped all over, the batter has already won the at bat. This gave Hershiser that confidence he needed and with working on simple mechanics he slowly became more aggressive and had much better approach on the mound and finally had control of the game. His first start was May 26th and then became a full-time starter in July.
One season that deserves to be recognized was Orel’s 1988 season. The Dodgers defeated the Oakland A’s that year for a World Series Championship title, however, the Bulldog had many accomplishments that year on top of that. Hershiser is the only player to have won the CY Young Award and both Championship Series and World Series MVP Award in the same season. His overall ERA for the 1988 season was 2.28, now that is something.
The Bulldog is retired but remains on the baseball field reporting and in the studio as well. He is now an analyst and reporter for SportsNet LA and does broadcast games. Just to name a few, Orel works alongside, Alana Rizzo, Joe Davis, Jerry Hairston Jr, and many others, however, whenever Orel is on-screen he is always flashing that 1988 WS Championship ring.
- Jackie Ramirez