59 Scoreless

It all started against the Montreal Expos on August 30th, 1988 at Olympic Stadium.  This was Orel Hershiser’s 29th start of the season and the first 4 scoreless innings for a Los Angeles Dodgers win on the way to a record that still hasn’t been broken.

September 5th, 1988 Hershiser pitched his fourth straight complete game against the Atlanta Braves bringing his season record to 19-8.

September 10th, 1988 Hershiser pitches in another complete game to became the first Dodger Righthander to win 20 games since Don Sutton in 1976.  Hershiser said, “It’s a goal that the world sets as a standard, and when you reach it, it’s a great feeling.”  

September 19th, 1988 Orel Hershiser goes head to head with Hall of Famer, and Houston Astros Pitcher, Nolan Ryan.  Although, Ryan leaves his final game as an Astro after two innings with hamstring issues.  The game marked Hershiser’s sixth (and fourth consecutive) shutout of the season, making him the first Dodger since Drysdale in 1968 to record four in a row.  Thus making 40 consecutive scoreless innings for Orel Hershiser

September 23rd, 1988. With only three days rest, Orel Hershiser sets his sights on defeating the San Francisco Giants.  The game marked Hershiser's eighth consecutive complete game and fifteenth of the season and Hershiser's fifth consecutive complete game shutout, which stretched his consecutive scoreless inning streak to 49.  Following the game, Hershiser was quoted as saying "I want to keep putting zeroes up there — not because of the streak, but for the team...I want to stay hot right up through the playoffs.”

September 28th, 1988.  The place, San Diego Padres, Jack Murphy Stadium.  Prior to the game Hershiser explained why he wanted to win a World Series more than break the scoreless innings streak: "You can break a record or win a Cy Young and go home and celebrate with your wife and friends, but after it's over there's only a few people that really care about it. But if you win a team thing, you've got 24 guys and all their families, all their friends, a whole city celebrating.”

When the game went into extra innings, Hershiser did not want to continue: "I really didn't want to break it", Hershiser said. "I wanted to stop at 58. I wanted me and Don to be together at the top. But the higher sources (Lasorda and Perranoski) told me they weren't taking me out of the game, so I figured, what the heck, I might as well get the guy out."

According to some sources, Drysdale was the person who convinced Hershiser to take the mound for the tenth inning, saying, "I gave him a kick in the pants and told him to get out there and go as far as he can”.  However, other sources state that Drysdale merely said that if he had known about Hershiser's hesitance to break the record, he would have reassured him, saying "I'd have kicked him right in the rear if I had known that... I'd have told him to get his buns out there and get them."

Hershiser made it through the tenth inning, with the record-setting out being a Keith Moreland flyball caught by right fielder, Jose Gonzalez.   Hershiser stood bent with his hands on his knees for a long moment after the final out.  Orel Hershiser just pitched his 59th consecutive scoreless inning.  Feeling the pride and adoration as Hershiser’s second Father and late great Dodgers Manager and Hall of Famer, Tommy Lasorda, is the first to congratulate him by doing his signature victory celebration with arms stretched out to the heavens in reverence of Orel’s magnificent record breaking feat of excellence breaking past Dodger great, Don Drysdale’s, 58 2/3rds inning scoreless streak.  Then, just as if a dam had broken, Hershiser’s teammates came pouring out of the dugout to congratulate him.

Drysdale served as the Dodger radio broadcast announcer with Vin Scully that year. As Hershiser left the mound with the record in hand, he was searching for Drysdale and saying "Where is Drysdale? I've got to find Drysdale". Drysdale was on hand to congratulate Hershiser after the game.  In fact, when Hershiser returned to the dugout, Drysdale was waiting with his microphone for an interview.

Even after achieving the record, Hershiser expressed regret: "Because of respect for Don and respect for the record, I don't think I should have walked to the mound in a situation where I'm supposed to be resting for the playoffs, just to beat a record. That would have tarnished the whole thing.”