Dodgers who should be in the Hall-of-Fame: Orel Hershiser
This one bugs me the most. When you think of all-time great Dodger pitchers, even among a list that includes some of the game’s immortals, such as Sandy Koufax, you quickly name Orel Hershiser.
There are few seasons in the history of baseball as impressive as the Bulldog’s in 1988. Besides winning 23 games, with 15 of them being complete games, he proved how untouchable he was by setting a major league record in pitching 59 consecutive scoreless innings. He would go on to win the 1988 NLCS MVP and 1988 World Series MVP. In 42.2 postseason innings, he allowed only five earned runs.
While Hershiser’s spectacular 1988 Cy Young Award winning season stands out, he was one of the best pitchers in baseball from 1984 to 1989. In that time, he was 98-64 with a 2.65 ERA, tied with Doc Gooden for the lowest in baseball. He finished in the top-4 of Cy Young voting in three of the seasons he didn’t win the award.
The knock against the right-hander’s candidacy would be that he failed to continue his greatness past the age of 30. After making the All-Star team in 1989 with a 2.31 ERA, a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder slowed him down considerably from 1990 until he retired in 2000.
While Hershiser could have cemented himself as a Hall-of-Famer if he had remained healthy, his peak performance is great enough to make the argument that he still deserves recognition in Cooperstown.