THE WORLD SERIES : OAKLAND ATHLETICS vs. LOS ANGELES DODGERS : Notebook : Hershiser, Valenzuela Both Try Making a Pitch for the Other
So far, there is no “Orelmania” gripping Los Angeles. But what Dodger pitcher Orel Hershiser has done this season and in postseason play certainly is comparable to Fernando Valenzuela’s amazing streak in 1981, which spawned “Fernandomania.”
Hershiser, who broke Don Drysdale’s 20-year-old record by pitching 59 consecutive scoreless innings to end the regular season, now has pitched shutouts in both the National League championship series and the World Series. To top it off, Hershiser also had 3 hits in his Game 2 shutout of the Oakland Athletics.
Those accomplishments, according to Valenzuela, are superior to what he did as a Dodger rookie in 1981, when he began the season by winning 8 straight games and won both the Cy Young and rookie-of-the-year awards.
“He’s doing better than I did,” Valenzuela said before Game 3 of the World Series. “He pitched a hell of a game (in Game 2), and he did the same thing the last 6 weeks. What I did was a long time ago, but I remember. And I think he’s done more.
“Orel has a lot of confidence in himself now. You can tell that. You’ve got to pitch like he did. Everybody has to enjoy seeing what he’s done.”
Valenzuela said he believes Hershiser’s accomplishments are more impressive because he has pitched excellently during the pressure of postseason play.
Said Hershiser: “That’s his opinion. I’ll rate him better. That’s my opinion.”
Although Hershiser has received much acclaim, it has not reached the fervor that Valenzuela’s accomplishments prompted.
“I have no concept of (public reaction),” Hershiser said. “All I can judge is at the park when I pitched. I’ve been too busy now to do some charity work and really find out what’s going on in the public. I guess that’s a question to ask me after the season.”
Mike Scioscia, who has caught both pitchers during their streaks, declined to say which is a more noteworthy accomplishment.
“Fernando was a rookie, and that was his advantage because no one expected much from him,” Scioscia said. “Both are tremendous competitors. Plus, you look at both Orel and Fernando’s streaks, and they’ve both had a lot of luck.”
Add Hershiser: In Hershiser’s win Sunday, he had 3 hits and gave up 3 hits. The last time a World Series pitcher got as many hits as he gave up was Don Larsen, pitching for the New York Yankees in 1956.
OK, so Larsen didn’t get any hits that day. He didn’t allow any either.
Speaking of 3’s: After 3 games of the World Series, no Oakland player has more hits than Hershiser, who has 3.
Playing in twilight at the Oakland Coliseum is difficult for right fielders because the sun sets over the rim of the stadium and shines directly into the fielders’ eyes.
“It’s going to be tough,” said Dodger Mike Davis, who played right field for Oakland last season. “The sun gets right in your eyes and even glasses don’t help much. It gets severe.”
Facing left-hander John Tudor in Game 3, Oakland Manager Tony La Russa made three lineup changes, using Ron Hassey as the catcher, Tony Phillips as the left fielder in place of Dave Parker and catcher Terry Steinbach as the designated hitter.
La Russa said his first consideration was the well-being of pitcher Bob Welch, who was 14-3 during the regular season with Hassey catching and 3-6 with Steinbach catching.
Then, he said, the choice was Steinbach over Don Baylor as the designated hitter.
“Steinbach is probably our toughest hitter against left-handers,” La Russa said before the game. “I’ve said this before, but when Terry’s career is done, he will have as many big hits as Jose (Canseco) and Mark (McGwire) have.”
You wonder if La Russa felt the same way after McGwire’s ninth-inning homer.
Tim Belcher, scheduled to start Game 4 for the Dodgers tonight, arrived at the Coliseum Tuesday too late to attend a pregame press conference. Belcher said he had missed the team bus and got lost attempting to take BART, the Bay Area Rapid Transit service.
“I guess it’s the country boy in me,” he said.
Belcher said he plans to be back on track tonight, having lasted only 2 innings as the Game 1 starter, allowing 4 walks and a grand slam by Canseco. He said he had been over-throwing, trying to do too much with every pitch.
“I not only wanted to do good for myself and the team, I wanted to do good in front of the A’s (his former team),” he said. “You can’t think that way. You’ve got to treat it like any other game.”
Good Morning: Marty Cohen, a disc jockey at KFOG, a San Francisco radio station, called the still sleeping Tudor at 8 Tuesday morning and said: “Good morning, John, you’re on the air.”
“No I’m not,” replied Tudor, who hung up.
Cohen then woke up Mike Scioscia, who consented to a brief interview.
When Mickey Hatcher retires, he says he wants to stay home and be a “Mr. Mom.”
“I want to take a couple of years off baseball, and just be home with my kids,” said Hatcher, 33, who missed the Dodgers’ first playoff workout to fly home to Mesa, Ariz., to spend a day with wife, Debbie and children, Brynn, 5, and Amy, 4.
“Being away from them has done a lot of damage to me. I talk to them on the phone and they say, ‘Where is Daddy? Who is Daddy?’
“So I’ve already told my wife, ‘When I retire, you get a job. I want to make my kids to lunch, tote my kids to school and hang around with them at the golf course.’ ”
“Yeah, my kids are going to grow up to be golfers,” Hatcher said. “That’s where the money is.”
Add Hatcher: When asked to describe the World Series feeling, Hatcher also compared it to life with his children.
“It’s like when the doctor handed me our first baby,” Hatcher said. “It was such a high moment, my whole body was drained from all the emotion. I was so excited I felt like I was going to pass out. That’s how I feel now.”
For what it’s worth: Of the 18 Congressmen listed as being in attendance in Games 1 through 3, 15 of them are Democrats.
After Sunday’s Dodger win, Kirk Gibson said the Series is far from over.
“Oakland is far from dead, and if anybody thinks that I’ve got news for them,” Gibson said.
“When I hit a 3-run home run for Detroit in 1984 in the bottom of the eighth (of the final game), we knew then it was over.”
Times sports writers Ross Newhan and Bill Plaschke contributed to this story.