Orel Leonard Hershiser IV
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 192 lb.
- School Bowling Green State University
- High School Cherry Hill East High School
- Debut September 1, 1983
- Final Game June 26, 2000
- Born September 16, 1958 in Buffalo, NY USA
Orel Hershiser was signed as a 17th round pick in the 1979 amateur draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers and scout Boyd Bartley. In the minors Hershiser was more of a reliever, accumulating 51 saves in 202 games before establishing himself as a starter in the majors.
Hershiser was one of baseball's biggest stars who pitched 18 years in the major leagues, winning 204 games. Thirteen of his seasons were with the Dodgers, and three were with the Cleveland Indians. He had at least one season where he won in double figures for each of the four teams for which he pitched. He won the Cy Young Award in 1988, when he pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers who won the 1988 World Series over the Oakland A's, where Hershiser won two games and batted 1.000. That year, he pitched 59 consecutive scoreless innings. During the streak, Hershiser allowed 30 hits, walked nine and struck out 34. A controversial call in his second-to-last start against the San Francisco Giants preserved the streak. His streak ended in the first inning of his first start of 1989.
He also pitched in the 1995 World Series and the 1997 World Series with Cleveland, and was in post-season play with the New York Mets in the one season he was with them, 1999. In his first start as a member of the San Francisco Giants, in 1998, he threw eight shutout innings against the Chicago Cubs. Hershisher was the first pitcher to start his postseason career 7-0; Orlando Hernández later topped that at 8-0.
When Hershiser was a young major league pitcher, he gave credit to Sandy Koufax for helping him. Hershiser's minor league career was decent but not that impressive, as he went 35-29 from 1979-1983, and only once was his ERA under 3.50. However, not long after he broke into the majors, he went 19-3 in 1985, establishing himself as a star. His manager, Tommy Lasorda, gave him his nickname "Bulldog" in an effort to harden what he thought was a fairly soft Hershiser psyche.
Hershisher had career 2014 strikeouts in the majors. Based on similarity scores, the most similar player to Hershiser is his teammate Bob Welch. They were on opposing teams in the 1988 World Series, but did not pitch against each other. Welch, in his first year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame, received less than 1% of the vote. In 2017, he was placed on the Veterans Committee ballot looking at players and executives from "Today's Game" era. He received less than 5 votes, and was considered again in 2019.
Orel Hershiser had the highest single season batting average for a pitcher in the DH era (post 1973). In 1993, he was 26 for 73 for a .356 batting average (50 PA minimum).
He found an interest in poker in 2006, and played in a few big-time tournaments. Hershiser reached the quarter finals of the 2008 National Heads-Up Championships and won $75,000 in prize money. He is also known to show up on PokerStars.net using the screen name "O. Hershiser".
He was the second pitcher to announce "I'm going to Disney World", as part of a commercial pitch, very shortly after winning the World Series.
- 3-time NL All-Star (1987-1989)
- NL Cy Young Award Winner (1988)
- 1988 NLCS MVP
- 1988 World Series MVP
- 1995 ALCS MVP
- NL Gold Glove Winner (1988)
- NL Silver Slugger Award Winner (1993)
- NL Wins Leader (1988)
- NL Winning Percentage Leader (1985)
- 3-time NL Innings Pitched Leader (1987-1989)
- NL Complete Games Leader (1988)
- 2-times NL Shutouts Leader (1984 & 1988)
- 15 Win Seasons: 6 (1985, 1987-1989, 1995 & 1996)
- 20 Win Seasons: 1 (1988)
- 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 9 (1985-1989, 1992, 1993, 1996 & 1998)
- Won a World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988
|NL Cy Young Award|
|Steve Bedrosian||Orel Hershiser||Mark Davis|
- Consecutive scoreless innings, 59, 1988
- Orel Hershiser (as told to George Vass): "The Game I'll Never Forget", Baseball Digest, February 1995, pp. 41-43. 
- Orel Hershiser with Jerry B. Jenkins: Out of the Blue: Orel Hershiser, Wolgemuth & Hyatt, New York City, NY, 1989. ISBN 978-0-9434-9757-0
- Orel Hershiser with Robert Wolgemuth: Between the Lines: Nine Principles to Live By, Warner Faith, New York City, NY, 2001. ISBN 978-0-4465-3000-2
- George F. Will: Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball, Harper Perennial, New York City, NY, 2010. ISBN 978-0-0619-9981-9