DEEP ROOTS

In shattering one of baseball's most imposing records and then pitching the Dodgers to victory in the World Series, Orel Hershiser IV drew on a boyhood spent excelling in sports and a devotion to the fundamental values
In shattering one of baseball's most imposing records and then pitching the Dodgers to victory in the World Series, Orel Hershiser IV drew on a boyhood spent excelling in sports and a devotion to the fundamental values
December 19, 1988

On Nov. 16, President Ronald Reagan hosted a state dinner in honor of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain, and among the guests that evening were Mikhail Baryshnikov, Henry Kissinger, Tom Selleck, President-elect George Bush and a slightly awestruck couple from Pasadena, Orel Leonard Hershiser IV and his wife, Jamie. "It's around midnight, and we're walking down the long hall in the White House that goes from the ballroom to the front door," recalls Hershiser. "While we're walking, I'm telling Tom Selleck and his mother that we feel like Cinderella at the ball, and that if we don't hurry up, our limousine is going to turn into a pumpkin. When our car pulls up, a marine opens one door for Jamie, and I help her with her dress, and then I walk to the other side of the car, where another marine is holding the door for me.

"Now this marine is just like me, about my age. But he's standing there, staunch and upright, his chin out, like I'm some head of state. So I decided to make a little joke, and I put my hand in my pocket, pull it out and say, 'Gol,' I'm sorry, but I don't have any singles.'

"The guy never cracks a smile. He just says. 'That'll be all. Cy Young.' "

Let's hope not. For while we're grateful for the delights that Orel Hershiser provided as the summer of 1988 turned to autumn, we also look forward to having this unlikely-looking hero around for a few more seasons. He was Cy Young-like, all right, winning 23 games and losing 8 with a 2.26 ERA as his team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, won the National League West. But he was much more than that. He did Hall of Famer Don Drysdale one better by ending the regular season with a major league-record 59 consecutive scoreless innings, a string he can increase next season. As the very embodiment of the Dodgers' postseason Cinderella story, he pitched and occasionally hit L.A. to victory over the much better New York Mets and Oakland Athletics. Best of all, he carried himself with an amazing grace and amiability. He was stunning out there, but he also seemed a little stunned at what he was accomplishing, and his manner touched a responsive chord in a great many people. For his extraordinary achievements and for the generosity of spirit with which he reacted to his triumphs, we can, in this year of many superb athletic performances, unreservedly name Orel Leonard Hershiser IV SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's Sportsman of the Year for 1988.

No one else has ever had the kind of scrapbook-filling ride that Hershiser took for eight weeks in September and October. His scoreless-inning streak began to pick up momentum about the time Steffi Graf was winning the U.S. Open, the fourth of her Grand Slam victories this year. It rolled on through the Summer Olympics, competing, as it were, with the dramatic multi-gold medal feats of Florence Griffith Joyner and Greg Louganis. On a personal level, during the streak Hershiser celebrated the birth of his second son, Jordan, on Sept. 15, and his 30th birthday, on Sept. 16. On the night of Sept. 28, Hershiser faced the Padres in San Diego needing nine shutout innings to tie Drysdale's record. "It was the best I've ever seen him pitch," says Tony Gwynn of the Padres, the best hitter in the National League and the hitter Hershiser respects the most. "Oh for four. I grounded to second base each time, each time on a sinker, although he set me up differently each time. He sure as heck knew what he was doing out there."

With the score 0-0 after nine innings, Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda and pitching coach Ron Perranoski persuaded Hershiser to go for the record, and he got it. (L.A. would lose the game 2-1 in the 16th, six innings after Hershiser had retired for the evening.) When Drysdale was told that Hershiser, out of deference to Big D, wanted to leave the game upon tying the mark, he said, "I would have gone out there and kicked him in the rear." A wonderful picture moved out over the Associated Press wire that night: Hershiser, looking half his age, sitting in the clubhouse with his right arm packed in ice, smiling at the 52-year-old Drysdale, who's smiling right back. When one looks at the photograph, it seems as if the Big D and the Little O are sharing a secret that nobody else knows.

Well, maybe one other person knows the secret. "I picked up the paper in Arizona the next day, and I didn't quite know how to feel." says Sandy Koufax, the last Dodger pitcher to be our Sportsman of the Year, in 1965 (box, page 75), and a minor league pitching instructor in the Los Angeles organization. "I cared so much about both of them, having worked with Orel and having played with Don for so long. I was proud of Orel, but a little sad for Don. It's an amazing record, when you think about it. I can believe most anything that happens in a single game, but such sustained excellence over such a long period, with no margin for error, is unbelievable." Indeed, some baseball people considered Drysdale's record nearly as untouchable as Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. Unfortunately, Hershiser's epic achievement was somewhat overshadowed by the Olympics.

The next indelible image of Hershiser was formed two weeks later, in the deciding game of the National League Championship Series against the Mets. Hershiser had already pitched magnificently in his first two starts against New York, although the Dodgers lost both games, and he had volunteered to relieve in Game 4 and had earned a save. With everything on the line in Game 7, he pitched a five-hitter as L.A. won 6-0. At the final out, a strikeout of Howard Johnson on a humming fastball, Hershiser dropped to his left knee just to the first base side of the mound and said a little prayer. He had to hurry because he was about to be trampled by his teammates, but he got it off in time. "That's my favorite moment of the year," says his mother, Millie. "At a time like that, he remembered to thank God."

And then came the World Series. Before Game 2, his folks, who had been named 1988 Little League Parents of the Year, threw out the ceremonial first balls. During the game, Hershiser got two doubles and a single—as many hits and more total bases than he allowed—ran the bases like Jackie Robinson and shut out the Athletics 6-0. The Dodgers have an expression they use when one of their pitchers jams a batter, sawing off his bat and making him tap the ball weakly: "Grown man hit that ball." That expression was uttered early and often that night.

In the fifth and final game, Hershiser wasn't quite so overpowering, but he was more than a match for mighty Oakland. His biggest worry was that Lasorda would take him out when he ran into trouble in the eighth inning: runners on first and second, one out, Jose Canseco at the plate, the Dodgers leading 5-2. "I was running out of gas, but I wanted that Whitney Houston thing, you know, my one moment in time," Hershiser says. "Now, I don't want Tommy to know I'm tired, so I have to act confident. But if I act too confident, he's going to know I'm faking it, so I have to strike the right balance there." Having telepathically convinced Lasorda he should continue, Hershiser went to work. He threw two fastballs and a curve, each of which Canseco fouled off. Then Hershiser threw a fastball in—something most pitchers would never dream of giving Canseco in this situation, but that's probably what Canseco was thinking, too. He popped weakly to first base. Grown man hit that ball. Dave Parker, the next batter, didn't even do that well. He struck out on four pitches, the last one a nasty, low curveball.

The thing fans watching on television that night will remember is Hershiser sitting on the bench in the top half of an inning, leaning back, mouth wide open, singing to himself. The two songs he sang were the doxology ("Praise God, From Whom All Blessings Flow") and a contemporary Christian tune by the late Keith Green called Rushing Wind. Says Hershiser, "There's a line in that song—'Rushing wind, blow through this temple, blowing out the dust within'—that seemed particularly appropriate. I wanted to cleanse my mind of all the clutter in the world at that moment, to block out the pressure and concentrate on the game at hand."

What followed after he struck out Tony Phillips to give the Dodgers their 5-2 victory was a rushing wind of interviews, public appearances, parades and parties, and through it all, Hershiser conducted himself with patience, intelligence, humor and humility.

When he appeared on The Tonight Show the night after the Series ended, he charmed Johnny Carson, the studio audience and, presumably, everybody watching at home. At one point, Carson played with fire by urging Hershiser to sing the doxology again, and Hershiser somehow pulled it off, turning what could have been a mawkish moment into a sweet one.

After that came the obligatory, truth-in-advertising tour of Disneyland, the first of three trips to the White House, a foray into New York to accept Sport magazine's World Series MVP award, a swing through Japan with the major league all-stars, a brief stopover in Pasadena, another journey to Washington—this time with Jamie, for both the morning reception and the state dinner honoring Thatcher—a business and pleasure jaunt to New York and a flight to Orlando, Fla., for the Payne Stewart Celebrity Pro Am Golf Tournament. After all that, at last came a restful week with four generations of Hershisers—16 of them at the Thanksgiving table, including four-year-old Orel V (called Quinton)—in Vero Beach, Fla., where Quinton's paternal grandparents have a home. Things had gotten so hectic at one point that Jamie, who had flown home from New York to pick up the two boys and take them to Orlando, remembered at the last instant that she had yet to make arrangements to care for the Hershisers' golden retriever, the wonderfully named Sinker. Neighbors wound up feeding the dog.

All of this to-do was over a fellow who was cut from his high school baseball team, who couldn't make the traveling squad of his college team, who almost quit in the minors, who never quite looked the part he was trying to play. His really was a Cinderella story, and his triumph was a triumph for everybody who has been told "No way." No way the Dodgers could win the World Series. No way Drysdale's record would ever be broken. No way this kid could be a major league pitcher.

The name Hershiser is Hessian in heritage, and Orel means "eagle" in Czech. Orel Leonard Hershiser might seem a cruel name to be passing down from generation to generation, but when Orel Leonard IV was just a boy, his parents took mercy on him by calling him just plain "O." It has a nice ring to it, O. Headline writers certainly appreciated it during the scoreless streak: ooo ooo OOOREL was a popular choice. And the letter seems perfect for Hershiser in other ways. O, as in the start of major league baseball's two national anthems, O as in standing O. Drape a seam across the top of the O and another across the bottom, and—voila—you have a baseball. It may be stretching the point, but Hershiser's face—so occupied and determined on the mound, so open and full of bemusement off the field—even suggests something of an O, especially when he wears his glasses, the lenses of which are shaped like O's.

One night during the tour of Japan, Hershiser was wearing those glasses for an appearance on a television show in Fukuoka. A Japanese TV personality began the interview by saying, "You don't look like a great pitcher. You look like a, a...."

"A librarian?" offered Hershiser.

"No," said the interviewer.

"An accountant?"

"No."

"A nerd?"

"No."

"Ronnie Howard? You know, Richie Cunningham from Happy Days?"

"No."

The litany continued until the two settled on "lawyer."

Hershiser has heard all those comparisons countless times, and he even helps foster them. "Let's face it," he says, "I'm just a pale guy with glasses, long arms and a sunken chest. I look like I never lifted a weight. I look like I work in a flour factory. People compare me to Clark Kent and Superman, but Clark Kent at least had a good body. I'm Jimmy Olsen."

So how did Jimmy Olsen become Superman? Hershiser keeps scrapbooks, which is a nice, quaint sort of thing to do, entirely befitting his meticulous nature, and in the early scrap-books there are some clues. One of the first entries is a picture of the eight-year-old, freckle-faced Orel posing in a Yankee cap with the third-place trophy he won in the national finals of the 1967 Personna Baseball Grand Slam throwing, running and hitting contest in Yankee Stadium. So, however bookish he may have looked, he always had the talent. There's also a clipping from page 20 of the July 4, 1974, edition of The Cherry Hill (N.J.) News with the headline NERHEISER HURLS NO-HITTER. So even in Babe Ruth League, people had trouble with his name. And there's a certain incentive in trying to get them to spell it right.

Says Millie Hershiser, "When we were at O's house before Game 7 against the Mets, he excused himself and went into the family room to look at some tapes and listen to some music, and all of a sudden he was 10 or 11 years old again, putting on his uniform hours before a big game and going up to his room to he on his bed and listen to his 45-rpm records. He's still doing the same things he did as a kid."

"O was always small for his age, but he always had great hand-eye coordination," says Orel III. "He could play anything, but it was baseball that he loved." It helped to grow up in an athletic family. Orel III was a hockey and baseball player in his youth, and he and Mildred are still avid golfers. Their other children are all athletically inclined: Katie, now 27, played volleyball on a scholarship at Kentucky; Gordie, 25, who actually looks like a major league pitcher—he's a righty, too—went a combined 7-0 for the Dodgers' Class A teams in Salem, Ore., and Vero Beach last season after recovering from elbow surgery; and Judd. 20, has a golf scholarship to Alabama-Birmingham.

Part of the reason the kids were, and are, so active in sports is that Orel III's printing business kept the family on the go, from Buffalo to Detroit to Toronto to Cherry Hill and back to Detroit, and sports were always good entrees into new communities.

In addition to the baseball clips, Orel IV's scrapbooks contain a number of hockey stories. In the photos, with his black-rimmed glasses on, he looks like one of the manic Hanson Brothers in the movie Slap Shot. Orel took up hockey in Toronto, and he was a good enough defenseman to play for the Philadelphia Flyers' Junior A hockey team. When it came time for college, he chose Bowling Green, which had good programs in both baseball and hockey. But the baseball coach discouraged him from playing hockey, and Bowling Green was discouraging in other ways, too. Hershiser had trouble with academics as a freshman, and when he failed to make the baseball team's traveling squad that year, he went AWOL for two days, visited some old high school friends in Cherry Hill and finally hitchhiked back to school.

With his personal crisis behind him, Hershiser started cracking the books—he was a selling and sales marketing major—and made dean's list. In his sophomore year he also grew three inches, added about five miles an hour to his fastball and was finally good enough to crack the Falcons' traveling squad. A part-time bird dog for the Dodgers, Mike Trbovich, recomnended Hershiser to full-time scout Boyd Bartley, and after Hershiser's junior year, during which he went 6-2, the Dodgers drafted him in the 17th round. Before Hershiser got the news about Los Angeles, his Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity buddies faked a call from the San Diego Padres telling him he was their No. 1 draft pick. Hershiser was only momentarily crushed when he found out it was a prank.

He did pretty well in his first minor league season, going 4-0 for Class A Clinton, Iowa. There's a clip in his scrapbook telling of the day that he and Butch Wickensheimer pitched and won both ends of a doubleheader. "Wickensheimer and Hershiser," he recalls. "A doubleheader won by a law firm." Wickensheimer and Hershiser teamed up in another way, for it was Butch who helped Orel find Christ. Says Hershiser, "At first, I thought, 'How can I be a Christian? I'm not straight enough." I liked to have fun, I liked to be giddy. But in reading the Bible, I discovered that there was no contradiction there. You don't have to be boring to be a Christian. If anything, I felt freer after I found Christ, freer to express my emotions, freer to open up to people."

As for his pitching, well, if the Dodgers thought of him at all, they thought of him as a reliever. In his first year with Double A San Antonio, 1980. he started only three of 49 games, and he relieved with only mixed success. But he also met Jamie Byars that year at a team party—her father worked for the oil company that owned the club—and six weeks after they met, they became engaged. That next February they were married. The scrapbooks include a revealing clip from The San Antonio Light early the next season:

Orel Hershiser made everyone at the ballpark hold their collective breath last season when he entered the game as a relief pitcher.... Fans never knew if he would serve the pitch that would be hit for the game-winner or the one that would retire the side.

This season, Hershiser is in love with his new bride and he's confounding the opposition with regularity. Hershiser...admitted there is a correlation between the two.

Although the marriage remained strong, Hershiser's pitching went south of the border shortly after that article appeared. At one point he was leading the Texas League in saves and had a 0.51 earned run average, but then he gave up 20 runs in seven innings on a road trip and saw his ERA balloon to 4.72. In one of those games he gave up eight earned runs in 3⅖ innings at El Paso. "That was the lowest point of my career," he says. "I wanted to quit."

Charlie Strasser, now a Dodger trainer but then the San Antonio trainer, remembers the occasion well: "We were at the Ramada Inn in El Paso, and I answered a knock on my door. It was Orel, and he was almost in tears. He said he was going to quit. So I called the manager. Ducky LeJohn, and the pitching coach, Gary Wheelock, and they came over, and together, we talked him out of it."

Says Hershiser, "They told me I could be a major league pitcher, but I think they were just trying to be polite."

Hershiser straightened himself out after that, and the next year the Dodgers sent him to Triple A Albuquerque, where he showed enough that the Texas Rangers asked for him, pitchers Dave Stewart and Burt Hooton and outfielder Mark Bradley in a trade for catcher Jim Sundberg. The Dodgers were quite willing to part with that foursome, but Sundberg wanted his contract rewritten before he would agree to the deal, and L.A. refused. Had Sundberg agreed to go to Los Angeles, it's possible that Orel Hershiser of the world champion Texas Rangers would be our Sportsman of the Year.

In the spring of 1983, Hershiser won the Mulvey Award as the top L.A. rookie. He also won the Walter Alston pool tournament. (He plays just about every sport well.) Hershiser fully expected to make the club, but just before the plane left Vero Beach for Los Angeles, Lasorda called him into his office and told him that the club was sending him back to Albuquerque.

A little frustrated and impatient, Hershiser didn't exactly blow the Pacific Coast League away upon returning there. But in winter ball after the 1983 season, while performing for the Licey team in the Dominican Republic, he did very well working with a pitching coach named Dave Wallace. He also had a frightening moment in Santo Domingo. He and Jamie were living in a house in a nice section of town, and at a New Year's Eve party there, some of the players shot off fireworks. As it turned out, one of the rockets hit the house of a former general in the Dominican army, and the next day the general and two bodyguards carrying guns showed up at the Hershisers' temporary residence. Hershiser tried to reason with them, but the visitors, who didn't want to be reasoned with, hit him in the head with the rocket in question. Manny Mota, the Dominican who coaches for the Dodgers and managed Licey then, arrived just in time to prevent Hershiser's arrest. A compromise was reached. The police wanted to arrest someone, so Mota gave them the team trainer, who was none other than Hershiser's good friend Charlie Strasser. "Orel and I can laugh about it now," says Strasser, "but I don't recall it being too funny at the time."

Hershiser made it to Los Angeles in 1984 as a long reliever, but he was still a little unsure of himself. On one road trip, he pitched socks to Jamie, argyles low and away, in their hotel room. "One of the sacrifices I've made," says Jamie. His big break didn't come until May 26 of that year, when, because of an injury to Jerry Reuss, Hershiser started a nationally televised game in New York. He pitched well, and he joined the starting rotation for good on June 29. "I'd always thought of myself as a starter, anyway," he says. "I didn't have that one overpowering pitch to be a reliever, and starting gave me a little more chance to be creative." He was so creative, in fact, that beginning with his first start he had a scoreless-inning streak of 33⅖ innings. "The difference between that streak and the one this year is that I really didn't know what I was doing in '84," Hershiser says. "I was like that pitcher in Bull Durham when he throws a great pitch and says, 'God, that was beautiful. What'd I do?' "

But he was learning. He would sit with Lasorda and Perranoski, soaking up everything they knew about pitching and the hitters in the National League. Much has been made of Lasorda's hanging the tag "Bulldog" on Hershiser, theretofore known to the Dodgers as "the Senator." But Lasorda's real contribution to Hershiser's success was the knowledge he imparted. "Tommy taught me a lot about pitching." says Hershiser. "I didn't mind it if he second-guessed my pitch selection, because it was almost a Socratic method: "Why did you throw that?' I would learn things like, Don't throw off-speed to a lefthander with a man on first base because he wants to hit the ball to the right side anyway."

As for the name "Bulldog," Hershiser isn't overly fond of it. But he has accepted it, so go ahead and use it if you insist.

In 1985 Hershiser took a big step toward becoming a household name by going 19-3 with a 2.03 ERA. After the season, he took the Dodgers to arbitration and won $1 million a year. Hershiser and the Los Angeles front office have had a very interesting relationship over the years. After the '86 season, in which he was 14-14, he and the Dodgers were back at the arbitration table, and this time the team won, reducing his salary to $800,000. In '87 he went 16-16, a record that, given the Dodgers' shaky defense, belied his effectiveness, and this time he and the club agreed on a one-year, $1.1 million contract. Hershiser and the club are heading for their third arbitration in four years in February, and as Major League Players Association head Donald Fehr recently said. "We may be looking at $3 million a year here." That would make Hershiser the major leagues' highest-paid player.

If Hershiser gets the three mil, it will be a tribute to his thirst for pitching knowledge, for that's what distinguishes him from most of his comrades in arms. Yes, he has a tremendous sinker, an above-average fastball and an outstanding curve, but other pitchers have "stuff." However, very few of them have hard disks on the opposition. Hershiser can call up a computer file for almost every game he has pitched this year. (Sad to say. his scrapbooks have suffered from lack of attention, now that he has a PC.) Every at bat by every batter is recorded with shorthand notations that translate to something like. "Thomas [Andres Thomas of Atlanta]—First inning, lined out to short on a good curve ball—may be learning how to hit the curve." It's not as if Hershiser pores over the data before every game. "Just the fact that I'm entering the information is enough to keep it in my mind," he says.

Hershiser offers this analogy for his desire to learn: "It's like when you put your money in a savings bank that gives you 5¼-percent interest. Now, some people would be satisfied with that, and some pitchers are satisfied with just the scouting reports they get on a certain club. But I want to know where the bank that's giving me 5¼ percent is investing its money. When I learn that, then I want to know where the investors who are getting the bank's money are putting their money. And finally, I want to know what the really rich guys are investing in."

One of the pitchers richest in knowledge of his craft was Koufax, and he says, "The key to Orel's success is his constant striving for perfection. Perfectionists are usually given a bad rap, but there's nothing wrong with trying to be better than you are, the best that you can be. And Orel's going to have to get even better, not so much because the rest of the league will catch up to him, but because they're going to want to try that much harder to beat him. But he's a remarkable young man, and I think he'll get better."

Hershiser, as it turns out, is a disciple of Koufax. This is something of a scoop because the last thing Hershiser wants to do is offend Perranoski, who has taught him so much about pitching strategy, and because the shy Koufax is about the last person in the world to take credit for someone else's success. But when Hershiser feels he's out of sync, he will call either Koufax or Wallace, his old minor league pitching coach, who subscribes to Koufax's teachings. All three are firm believers that a pitcher's success is founded on having good mechanics; they're devoted to the principle that there's a motion for every pitcher that maximizes his potential. Last spring, for instance, Koufax suggested that Hershiser make an adjustment with his back foot to give him more leverage. Hershiser felt the results almost immediately. In early August, Wallace came in to Los Angeles to watch the major league debut of Dodger prospect Ramon Martinez and, while he was there, happened to see Hershiser get shelled by the Giants. He noticed that Hershiser was opening up too much with his front leg—planting his front foot six or eight inches too far toward first base—and he naturally told Hershiser about it. They worked at closing the angle a little, and Hershiser's sinker started diving more dramatically and his curveball became sharper. And that's just about when his streak began. "In a way, I am the extension of Koufax and Wallace on the mound," Hershiser says.

For those who might be concerned that success will spoil Hershiser, don't worry. "He won't change," says Sid Bream, the Pittsburgh Pirate first baseman who came up through the Dodger organization with Hershiser. "You can count on it. He's one of the most considerate people I know."

Resolute as Hershiser is on the old slab, he is just as playful off it. In the dugout during the games in Japan, he would sometimes point to the scoreboard, which had only Japanese characters on it, and say something like, "Gee. I didn't know Harold Reynolds had 35 stolen bases this year."

Hershiser's good humor has stood him in good stead during his exhausting off-season. Consider the week that began in the White House and ended at Walt Disney World. The Hershisers, who didn't know whom they would be sitting with at the state dinner, were among the last to be seated because President-elect Bush had insisted on taking Jamie over to meet his wife. Barbara. When they did sit down, Jamie found herself in the company of Henry Kissinger, Chief Justice William Rehnquist and publisher Malcolm Forbes. Orel drew Prime Minister Thatcher, Nancy Kissinger, publisher Walter Annenberg and President Reagan.

The next day, the Hershisers were off to New York to hook up with Orel's lawyer, Robert Fraley. Fraley had arranged some endorsement deals with Pepsico and Ebel USA, a watch company. (Hershiser, who also endorses Mitsubishi cars and B.V.D. underwear, figures to make as much money off the field in 1989 as he did on the field last year.)

And then Orel went to Orlando. On the day before the Payne Stewart tournament, Hershiser did a promo for Bob Hope's Jolly Christmas Show, lunching with old Ski Nose himself in his room, and then played an informal nine holes with Hope and Stewart. That night, at a formal dinner at the Grand Cypress Resort to benefit Florida Hospital, Hershiser chatted amiably with Mets pitcher Ron Darling, who happened to be the loser in the seventh game of the National League playoffs, and Frank Viola, his American League Cy Young counterpart. In the tournament the following day, Hershiser exhibited a little of his perfectionist streak by expressing annoyance with his driving and putting. When he's playing regularly, he's a four-handicapper, and he harbors a dream of one day going on the Senior PGA Tour. After the golf game, Hershiser went out to the airport to pick up Jamie and the kids and his brother Gordie.

At Walt Disney World the next day, Orel and Quinton clowned with Goofy and met Mickey. The quietest moment of Orel's whole week came in, of all places, Cinderella's Castle, where the family settled down to lunch. Orel sat there, doting on Quinton, eating his chicken and chatting with the Disney World guide. At one moment the irony of where they were dawned on Gordie, and he went into a passable imitation of the Bill Murray monologue from Caddyshack: "There he is, the Cinderella pitcher, coming from out of nowhere. Nobody can believe it. Fifty-nine scoreless innings. MVP of the World Series."

Orel laughed in recognition, and then who should suddenly appear but...Cinderella herself. She had been told that Orel Hershiser was at the VIP table, but for the life of her, she didn't know which one he was. Not even Cinderella could guess that the skinny guy with the glasses at the end of the table was the best pitcher in baseball.

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THREE PHOTOSRONALD C. MODRA PHOTORONALD C. MODRAICEMAN HERSHISER: A MOST UNLIKELY-LOOKING HOCKEY PLAYER PHOTORONALD C. MODRAEVEN AS A YOUNGSTER, HERSHISER WAS A METICULOUS WORKER PHOTOPHOTOS COURTESY OF OREL HERSHISERL.A. ALMOST TRADED HERSHISER DURING HIS ALBUQUERQUE DAYS TWO PHOTOSRONALD C. MODRAHERSHISER WILL ADD TO HIS SOUVENIR COLLECTION IF HE EXTENDS HIS SCORELESS STREAK TO MORE THAN 59 INNINGS DURING 1989 PHOTORONALD C. MODRATHE STRONG HOME TEAM: OREL, JAMIE, JORDAN AND QUINTON PHOTOBILL FRAKESOREL III AND MILLIE'S TALENTED BROOD ALWAYS LOVED SPORTS PHOTORONALD C. MODRAHERSHISER KNOWS HOW TO KEEP THE SCORE LOW ON THE LINKS PHOTORONALD C. MODRATHE STUDIOUS HERSHISER PORES OVER GAME VIDEOS, MAKING NOTATIONS THAT MAY FIND THEIR WAY ONTO ONE OF HIS COMPUTER DISKS

 

PAST WINNERS

1954

ROGER BANNISTER

1955

JOHNNY PODRES

1956

BOBBY MORROW

1957

STAN MUSIAL

1958

RAFER JOHNSON

1959

INGEMAR JOHANSSON

1960

ARNOLD PALMER

1961

JERRY LUCAS

1962

TERRY BAKER

1963

PETE ROZELLE

1964

KEN VENTURI

1965

SANDY KOUFAX

1966

JIM RYUN

1967

CARL YASTRZEMSKI

1968

BILL RUSSELL

1969

TOM SEAVER

1970

BOBBY ORR

1971

LEE TREVINO

1972

BILLIE JEAN KING;

 

JOHN WOODEN

1973

JACKIE STEWART

1974

MUHAMMAD ALI

1975

PETE ROSE

1976

CHRIS EVERT

1977

STEVE CAUTHEN

1978

JACK NICKLAUS

1979

TERRY BRADSHAW;

 

WILLIE STARGELL

1980

U.S. OLYMPIC HOCKEY TEAM

1981

SUGAR RAY LEONARD

1982

WAYNE GRETZKY

1983

MARY DECKER

1984

EDWIN MOSES;

 

MARY LOU RETTON

1985

KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR

1986

JOE PATERNO

1987

ATHLETES WHO CARE:

 

BOB BOURNE

 

KIP KEINO

 

JUDI BROWN KING

 

DALE MURPHY

 

CHIP RIVES

 

PATTY SHEEHAN

 

RORY SPARROW

 

REGGIE WILLIAMS

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)