Orel’s 59 Scoreless Innings

Orel Hershiser’s 59-inning scoreless streak in 1988 is one of those freakazoid baseball records that may never be broken. But it’s one thing to pitch that many scoreless innings – it’s another to do it the way Hershiser did it. His streak started in the sixth inning of a 4-2 win against Montreal on Aug. 30; he pitched the complete game. He then pitched five consecutive complete-game shutouts – including two on three days’ rest – and tossed 10 scoreless innings in what would be a 2-1 16-inning loss to San Diego on Sept. 28.

Like, whoa.


Want more? He didn’t allow a triple during the streak. Hell, he only allowed four runners to even reach third, and two of them were from errors. He didn’t give up a double in the last three games of the season, and walked 10 during the streak – two intentionally.

(Data source: baseball-reference.com)

About PolkPanther

PolkPanther is the Thornton Melon Distinguished Chair of Economics at Grand Lakes University. Follow him on Twitter @polkpanther.
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3 Responses to Orel’s 59 Scoreless Innings

  1. ChickScully says:

    I was lucky enough to be at the game where Orel broke the record at Jack Murphy. This record couldn’t be talked about enough. Aside from it being an amazing record on it’s own, the circumstances make it even more incredible.

    This game was Hershiser’s last start of the regular season. He could have tied the record, but the only way he could break if the game went to extra innings with a scoreless tie. Hershiser reportedly wanted to come out of the game after the 9th and tie the record, by Lasorda pushed him to go back out for the tenth.

    In the 10th inning, Hershiser actually recorded 4 outs. He struck out the first batter with a ball in the dirt that got past Sciocsia, and then recorded 3 more outs for the 10 inning shut out.

    2 of his starts during the scoreless inning streak came on 3 days rest, and then he continued to go on 3 days rest once they reached the playoffs.

    He pitched another 8 1/3 scoreless innings in the first game of NLCS (making it 67 consecutive scoreless innings), a complete game shutout in Game 7 of the NLCS (after which he invented Tebowing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3B4jBXFa8M), a complete game shutout in game 2 of the World Series, and a complete game 2-run performance in game 5 of the World Series to close it out.

    Simply amazing.

    Regarding Big Sloppy’s Strasburg reference, Orel is one of the stories of blown out arms that makes the Nats so cautious. Orel was never the same after that season. But man was it worth it.

  2. Big Sloppy says:

    This is excellent. I was a huge fan of Orel when I was a kid. Never really grew out of it.

    On another note, can you imagine the horror if a pitcher today threw 7 straight complete games? Strasburg’s arm would fall of at least twice.

  3. Sgt. Hammerclaw says:

    This is really cool.

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