Following the Dodgers and Exploring The Team’s Past
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The website just kicked off it’s 1988 Dodgers diary a few weeks ago and I was happy to find that we’re not the only one’s celebrating. MLB, along with A&E, have put together the Los Angeles Dodgers 1988 World Series Collector’s Edition and the highlight of the set is you get full coverage of all five World Series games. You not only get to see the stage being set for Kirk Gibson’s historic homerun off of Dennis Eckersley in game one, but you also get full games of the other four games as well. You get to see Orel Hershiser’s game two three hit shutout as well as the game five clincher.
If that wasn’t enough, you also get game’s four and seven of the NLCS. Game seven was another shutout by Hershiser while game four has what I’ve callen Kirk Gibson’s forgotten homerun. The Mets were up two games to one and the Dodgers scored two runs in the ninth of game four on a Mike Scioscia homer to send the game into extra frames and then Kirk Gibson belted a solo homer in the twelth to win it for the Dodgers. Without game four of the NLCS, there might not have been a World Series game one homer.
You also get all the bells and whistles. Interviews and more interviews, including some right after the game one homer by Gibby. You also get the award presentations as well as some additional game highlights, like when Orel Hershiser broke Don Drysdale’s consecutive scoreless innings record.
There’s just a ton of good stuff in here and if you’re a Dodgers fan, you should run out and buy this set so you can relive the Dodgers post season glory.
April 15 isn’t just another ordinary day in the baseball world….it is the day to commemorate Jackie Robinson and all that he stands for.
The Dodgers hold this day as especially significant because it was with this team that Robinson broke the color barrier into baseball 61 years ago.
The signature ceremony for Jackie Robinson Day will be held this year at Shea Stadium. Dodger Stadium had the honor of hosting the event last year.
Robinson’s #42 was retired in 1997, on his 50th anniversary of his MLB debut. Last year, Bud Selig decided to let any and all players wear the number on April 15 to honor Robinson.
42 represents more than just Robinson’s number. It is a way to honor his legacy and the passion, respect, and commitment that he had for the game.
So tomorrow, when you’re watching the Dodgers game, remember what happened exactly 61 years ago…..a hero was born and a legacy was created for all of baseball.
On April 8, 1974, Hank Aaron hit his 715th homerun to break the Babe’s record. He did it at his home field in Atlanta off LA Dodger’s pitcher Al Downing.
Twenty years later, Downing had this to say about him serving up Aaron’s record-breaker:
“I never say ‘seven-fifteen’ anymore. I now say ‘quarter after seven’.”
The spring season is winding down, and hope springs eternal for every baseball fan (okay, maybe not Royals fans). Each team starts with a clean slate and last year’s follies are long forgotten. It’s good time to think happy thoughts.
Which got me thinking about the last time the Dodgers won the World Series. It’s hard to believe that’s been 18 years. After back to back 89 loss seasons, the Dodgers weren’t thought of as contenders in 1988. They did make a big splash by signing outfielder Kirk Gibson after he was set free from Detroit because of the collusion problems that the league had. In a lot of ways, outside of Gibson, the Dodgers were bringing back a similar team from the previous two years.
Kirk Gibson is remembered for two things. The first was a homerun in game five of the 1984 World Series. The Tigers were up three games to one and they lead the Padres 5-4 in that game. Kirk Gibson hit a three run homerun in the bottom of the eighth inning to put the game away. And then his most memorable moment was in game one of the 1988 World Series when he hit a walk off two run homerun off of Dennis Eckersley to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead in the World Series. I contend that neither of these homeruns were his most important clutch homerun.
At the end of April, the Dodgers were an impressive 13-7 and they were a half game back of the Astros. By the end of May, they had turned the tables and they were a half game ahead of the Astros. In the NL East, the powerhouse Mets were rolling. In June, after winning nine of ten at one point, the Dodgers had built a nice cushion that would hold. The Astros, Giants and Reds all made runs at the Dodgers, but they finished with a comfortable seven game lead over the second place Reds.
The Dodgers finished with 94 wins that season and they were definitely the underdogs against the Mets, who had won the World Series just two years before in 1986. The Dodgers didn’t get off to a good start. In game one, Orel Hershiser was just as good as Dwight Gooden for eight innings. In the top of the ninth, the Dodgers tagged Hershiser for two runs and then J.P. Howell gave up the go ahead run and just like that, the Dodgers were down by a game.
Game two went a little better and they tied the series up 1-1. Game three went to the Mets and game four looked pretty dire. The Mets jumped out to a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, and that lead held until the top of the ninth. John Shelby drew a lead off walk, and then catcher Mike Scioscia, who had three homeruns in 408 at bats all season, took Dwight Gooden deep to tie the game up. The Mets went down in order in the bottom of the ninth and the game went into extra frames.
Neither team scored in the tenth or the eleventh. Then in the top of the twelth and with two outs, Kirk Gibson hit a solo homerun off of reliever Roger McDowell, and the Dodgers had the lead. Tim Leary and Jesse Orosco loaded up the bases in the bottom of the twelth, but Hershiser came in and got Kevin McReynolds to pop up to end the game.
That solo homerun, in my opinion, was way more important then either of Gibson’s other two big homeruns. In 1984, the Tigers already had the lead in that game, and had they lost, they still would have had two more games to put the Padres away. If the Dodgers would have lost game one of the 1988 World Series, they would have needed to win four of six to walk away with the win. And with Orel Hershiser set to throw in three of those six games, I still would have liked the Dodgers chances. In the 1988 NLCS, had Gibson not come through, the Mets could have taken a critical 3-1 lead, and the Dodgers appearance in the 1988 World Series might not have ever happened.
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