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  • Orel Hershiser

    As a Mets fan, I remember Orel Hershiser well, although he played only one year with them. However, my reminiscing has nothing to do with this thread.

    Over 18 years in the majors, Orel Hershiser posted a 204-150 record with a 3.48 ERA. A six-time 15 game winner and a one time 20 game winner, Hershiser was a three time All-Star and the 1988 NL Cy Young Award winner. He also won the Gold Glove, the NL Babe Ruth Award, the Major League Player of the Year Award and the NL TSN Pitcher of the Year Award in 1988. He was a Silver Slugger in 1993.

    In the postseason is where he really shined. He made 22 postseason appearances, including 18 starts, and he posted an 8-3 career record with a 2.59 ERA (including a 0.00 ERA in three games with the Mets, however, I digress). Hershiser performed so well in the playoffs that he was named the NLCS and World Series MVP in 1988 and the ALCS MVP in 1995.

    For a pitcher, Hershiser was also a pretty successful batter. In 810 career at-bats, he hit .201 with 29 doubles, two triples and 50 RBI. This is rather useless trivia, but he is one of only nine pitchers in big league history to have at least 25 career doubles and one career triple but never hit a home run. Some other pitchers who accomplished that feat were Tommy Bond, Waite Hoyt and Dick McBride. I thought that was kind of interesting.

    He also did fairly well (for a pitcher) batting in the playoffs, as he hit .208 in 24 at-bats and he holds the single season batting average record for a pitcher in the DH-era. In 1993, he hit .356 in 73 at-bats.

    Hershiser led the league shutouts in 1984, WL% in 1985, innings pitched in 1987, and in 1988 he led the league in wins, innings pitched, complete games and shutouts. He again led the league in innings pitched in 1989. He was often in the top ten list for complete games.

    Most people know that Hershiser holds the record for most consecutive innings pitched without giving up a run - 59, which he accomplished in his fabled 1988 season. That streak obviously helped him perform as well as he did that year and win the Cy Young Award.

    In both 2006 and 2007, Hershiser received votes for the Hall of Fame. In 2006, he received 11% of the votes, and in 2007, only 4.4%. He is statistically similar to two Hall of Fame pitchers: Catfish Hunter and Dazzy Vance. His grey ink is a respectable 129.

    So...should Orel Hershiser be in the Hall of Fame?
    38
    Yes
    10.53%
    4
    No
    73.68%
    28
    Maybe
    15.79%
    6
    Last edited by Cowtipper; 04-19-2008, 01:57 PM.

  • #2
    I said maybe. He certainly has the consistency through his career and probably should get consideration over some others.
    But there are a lot of others I would vote yes on before him.

    Welcome back ARod. Hope you are a Yankee forever.
    Phil Rizzuto-a Yankee forever.

    Holy Cow

    Comment


    • #3
      Orel and others to age 30 and later

      This is more about Hubbell and Coveleski than about Hershiser.

      There is a remarkable separation among Hershiser's "most similar pitchers through age 30", which is when he hit the wall himself. Through age 30, Hershiser was better than all of his most similars except Hubbell and Coveleski, the two Hall of Fame members, and he was closer to them than to the rest of the crowd (8).
      Orel Hershiser age-based similar players (through age 30)

      After age 30, Hershiser pitched 1600 innings at league-average ERA+ 100. Hubbell and Coveleski pitched 2100 and 1600 innings better than 120. None of the eight pitched even so long as 800 innings or so well as league average.
      Orel Hershiser age-based similar players (through age 30): career totals beginning at age 31 through the end of their careers

      Comment


      • #4
        David Cone has a much better case than Hershiser, yet Hershiser seems to overshadow Cone at every turn, beginning with the 1988 NL Cy Young Award race.

        Cone had the better career, although it could be argued that Hershiser had a higher peak. The big difference between the two is that Hershiser finished with over 200 wins, while Cone ended up with 194.

        Cone's career is surprisingly similar to Schilling, only more truncated.

        If Cone isn't in, Hershiser shouldn't be there, either.
        "I do not care if half the league strikes. Those who do it will encounter quick retribution. All will be suspended and I don't care if it wrecks the National League for five years. This is the United States of America and one citizen has as much right to play as another. The National League will go down the line with Robinson whatever the consequences. You will find if you go through with your intention that you have been guilty of complete madness."

        NL President Ford Frick, 1947

        Comment


        • #5
          I went with "Maybe."
          Originally posted by Fuzzy Bear View Post
          David Cone has a much better case than Hershiser, yet Hershiser seems to overshadow Cone at every turn, beginning with the 1988 NL Cy Young Award race.

          Cone had the better career, although it could be argued that Hershiser had a higher peak. The big difference between the two is that Hershiser finished with over 200 wins, while Cone ended up with 194.

          Cone's career is surprisingly similar to Schilling, only more truncated.

          If Cone isn't in, Hershiser shouldn't be there, either.
          All true.

          FB's right about those two, they're pretty much identical, really. One's fate should be tied to the other's and I would give each serious consideration. That's about as far as I can definitely go.
          3 6 10 21 29 31 35 41 42 44 47

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Fuzzy Bear View Post
            The big difference between the two is that Hershiser finished with over 200 wins, while Cone ended up with 194.
            And another difference (one that is in Cone's favor), is that Cone was more consistent than Hershiser.
            Although that may be more a reflection on the Dodgers from 1983-1993. It seems for every 1st place finish, they dipped to under .500 the very next year.
            Last edited by dgarza; 04-19-2008, 09:08 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Paul Wendt View Post
              This is more about Hubbell and Coveleski than about Hershiser.

              There is a remarkable separation among Hershiser's "most similar pitchers through age 30", which is when he hit the wall himself. Through age 30, Hershiser was better than all of his most similars except Hubbell and Coveleski, the two Hall of Fame members, and he was closer to them than to the rest of the crowd (8).
              Orel Hershiser age-based similar players (through age 30)

              After age 30, Hershiser pitched 1600 innings at league-average ERA+ 100. Hubbell and Coveleski pitched 2100 and 1600 innings better than 120. None of the eight pitched even so long as 800 innings or so well as league average.
              Orel Hershiser age-based similar players (through age 30): career totals beginning at age 31 through the end of their careers
              I was looking at that list. Of the ones not already in, Hersheiser is the only one with any decent years after 30. Some, like Overall, didn't even make the requisite 10 years.

              Welcome back ARod. Hope you are a Yankee forever.
              Phil Rizzuto-a Yankee forever.

              Holy Cow

              Comment


              • #8
                To me this is a no-brainer...no way. I mean, have you seen that music video with Orel dancing? It was horrendous. To put such a terrible dancer in the Hall would be a travesty.

                Oh wait, that has nothing to do with his baseball performance.

                Hershiser had a great 1988, and several other very good years. But I don't consider him legendary or Hall-worthy.
                The Writer's Journey

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'll vote Yes, although I will hurriedly concede that Hersh shouldn't be first in line.

                  The memory of his utter dominance in 1988, particularly the stretch drive and the playoffs, just looms so large in my memory that it puts his borderline career numbers over the top for me.

                  I think Fuzzy's got a point about Cone, too...but Cone never had a year like 1988. Indeed, there's only a handful of pitchers that can point to such a dominant, historic, and consequential season.
                  Last edited by Cougar; 04-22-2008, 06:24 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cougar View Post
                    I think Fuzzy's got a point about Cone, too...but Cone never had a year like 1988. Indeed, there's only a handful of pitchers that can point to such a dominant, historic, and consequential season.
                    Sure he did. In fact, it was 1988 also.
                    Taken as a whole season, was Hershiser's 1988 really that different than Cone's 1988?
                    Hershiser had a slightly better ERA+ and WHIP, but Cone had a better W/L% and a slightly better ERA.

                    And beyond that, was 1988 either pitcher's best year?
                    Hershiser's 1985 and Cone's 1994 may beg to differ.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You've got to look beyond the raw statistics to appreciate the true measure of Hershiser's 1988. It's how he did it that really counts:

                      With 59 scoreless innings, to end the season, Orel Hershiser almost singlehandedly drags a thoroughly ordinary Dodger team into the playoffs. Without Hershiser, even with Kirk Gibson doing the full "Natural" in his somewhat dubious MVP season, that team ain't even over .500. The link to his B-R gamelog from 1988 is below...check it out from mid-August on, pick your jaw up off the floor, and then resume reading this post:

                      http://www.baseball-reference.com/pi...&t=p&year=1988

                      He then is the MVP of both the NLCS and the WS (the only two rounds of playoffs in those days), continuing to totally dominate in his every appearance. In the NLCS, this included a dramatic relief appearance to earn a save the day after he started and pitched seven innings in the NLCS, and closing out the NLCS in Game 7 with a shutout.

                      Then all he did in the WS was throw two complete game wins, including another shutout.

                      Sorry, Orel's 1988 wasn't just a great season...it was a freakin' Hollywood screenplay.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Another guy I rather see go in before Hershiser who is similar in numbers but better is Kevin Brown...
                        "Back before I injured my hip, I thought going to the gym was for wimps."
                        Bo Jackson

                        Actually, I think they were about the same because I lettered in all sports, and I was a two-time state decathlon champion.
                        Bo Jackson

                        My sophomore year I placed 2nd, and my junior and senior year - I got smart and piled up enough points between myself and second place where I didn't have to run the mile.
                        Bo Jackson

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Brown's (generally) putrid October performances, along with his cameo in the Mitchell Report, put him far, far behind Orel or the similar David Cone.
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                          Comment


                          • #14
                            There is a cluster of near contemporaries (Orel's a little older than the others) who all had their best seasons in the years between 1984 and 1999:

                            Orel Hershiser
                            David Cone
                            Dwight Gooden
                            Bret Saberhagen

                            Ordering these guys in order from best to worst is not at all easy. At their best they were all utterly dominant. They also all were often reduced to ordinary pitchers due to catastrophic or chronic injury (of course in Doc's case, street drugs were unhelpful at best), and their careers were all truncated by ill health to one degree or another.

                            I've got them ranked in the order above, but I wouldn't dispute anyone's ordering; they're close enough that it's inevitably subjective.

                            Part of the legacy of these guys (Cone is an exception here, and Orel's was older when Lasorda burned him out) is that they are probably the signal members of the last generation of pitchers to be grievously overworked in their early 20's, such that they all went off a career cliff when they approached (Doc, Bret) or reached (Orel) 30.

                            Whether these guys are HOFers is debatable, but they surely had HOF stuff and enjoyed HOF-caliber seasons at their best.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Los Bravos View Post
                              Brown's (generally) putrid October performances, along with his cameo in the Mitchell Report, put him far, far behind Orel or the similar David Cone.
                              Brown's performances in October were not always awful...he was quite good in the NL playoffs with the Marlins and Padres. That 2004 start in Game 7 is hard to forget, but he was demonstrably washed up at that point and shouldn't have even been allowed to sniff the mound.

                              That said, the 'roids and the incomparable surliness (he was pitching's version of Albert Belle with the media), along with the subjective but widespread belief (which I share) that his value was rather less than the sum of his statistics throughout his career, doom Brown to the HOVG.

                              Comment

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