The asterisk after "Orel and 88 Dodgers" is poking me in the ribs, as if to say, "Surely you, DaddyO, will chime in here!" For all I know this might have even been the intent of this appendage. 'Twas like hoisting a carcass in front of a savage carnivore.
First of all, appreciate the article, all the articles, all whatcha do. So I'm hoisting an "au contraire" with brotherly love here.
Now, 'bout dem Dodgers of 1988. No doubt, Hershiser was an ounstanding pitcher, and that year amongst all MLB pitchers he was The Colossus astride the gateway to Rhodes harbor. BUT.
34 starts by Tim Leary, by FAR his best year, 17-11 at 2.91
27 starts by Tim Belcher, 12-6 at 2.91
22 starts by Fernando Valenzuela, 5-9 at 4.24, the worst starter on the staff in the second year of his long decline from superstardom
16 starts by 43-year-old Don Sutton, 3-6 at 3.92, former scuffer, 324-win guy.
10 starts by Shawn Hillegas, 3-4 at 4.13, back of the rotation filler
9 starts by John Tudor, 4-3 at 2.41
6 starts by hotshot prospect Ramon Martinez, 1-3 at 3.79, the first of two Martinez' to come up through the Dodger system, the second one being his younger brother, a certain guy named Pedro who turned out to be no slouch. Ramon was pretty good.
The only reason Hershiser stood out was because he lapped the rest of a pretty good staff.
That 1988 team of Dodgers had a patchwork lineup. We remember Kirk Gibson, but he was the only guy who OPS'd over .800 (.860). They had a .500 OPS shortstip, four guys with .600 OPS, and two guys in the .700 range to fill things out.
PeeWee Herman went up against Mike Tyson in the World Series. Herman knocked him out in the second round.
I will say this, and this is probably what you had in mind. Come playoff time, as everyone knows, Hershiser truly did a Charles Atlas with the team.
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Now the REDS. Lookin' from afar, it looked like they often had one Main Guy and bunch of Billinghams (as you point out).
So here's to ya, Doc. As I salute ya with all deserved respect, I'm sticking a good-natured finger in yer eye. No self-respecting vintage Dodgers fan could possibly let a vintage Reds fan slip that one through. God has reserved a special place for the Dodgers, and a special place for the Reds, and we both know which is which. :)