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Dodgers '88: A SEASON TO REMEMBER : The Homer . . . Shutout . . . Save . . . Scene : That's How Dodger Victories in Games 1, 2, 4 and 5 Should Be Remembered

October 24, 1988|BILL PLASCHKE | Times Staff Writer

You will remember Kirk Gibson's giant swing, Mickey Hatcher's goofy smile, Tom Lasorda's gallant strut to home plate during nightly introductions, waving his cap and bouncing his belly even if it was Oakland where they booed. And called him a pig.

You will remember Orel Hershiser on one knee, Alfredo Griffin on his stomach, Jay Howell on his toes, slow-dancing with teammates as he left the field after a Game 4 exorcism of his demons.

When you think of the 85th World Series, you will remember, in order of Dodger victories: The Homer, The Shutout, The Save, and, finally, The Scene, the Game 5 celebration after the Dodgers defeated the Athletics, 5-2, for the world championship.

OK, so maybe all Orel Hershiser did after striking out Tony Phillips for the last out was stand there and stare at the sky. Maybe you were shouting into your television set, "Do something. Throw your glove, long-jump into the arms of your catcher, run into the stands and come out with a flag around your skinny body, do something ."

Then again, considering the Dodger season, maybe Hershiser's reaction was perfect. History shows that he is not the first to stare at the sky upon witnessing a miracle.

Those will be your memories. But those are just some of the memories.

Here are other things that happened in the past week that won't show up on a $19.95 videotape or in a souvenir box score. Here are the smaller, sometimes hidden things that nonetheless contributed as much to the Dodger victory as Bob Costas' mouth.

"Unbelievable," after all, is a word with more than just a couple of letters.

Nice To See Ya--Whereas most of the ex-Dodgers and ex-A's fell over themselves verbally hugging and kissing their old team this series--witness Dave Stewart's emotional visit to the Dodger clubhouse after Game 5--one player handled it reasonably. That player, not coincidentally, was a Dodger.

"I've only talked to one guy over there all week," ex-A's pitcher Tim Belcher said late in the series.

And your other buddies?

"I sort of talked to them," Belcher said, smiling. "During the first-game introductions, while we were all standing there on the field, I yelled at them and flipped them off."

Nice to See Ya II--The series was three batters old when Belcher smacked Jose Canseco in the arm with a fastball. The next day, Hershiser put a two-strike fastball behind Canseco's head.

Outside of his Game 1 grand slam, Canseco spent the rest of the series in a fog, hitting just five other balls out of the infield.

"He knows he can hit the ball 450 feet," A's Manager Tony La Russa said during all this. "But something has gotten into him where it looks like he's trying to hit it 480 feet."

Seeing Things--The key to Gibson's game-winning, ninth-inning, 2-run homer in Game 1 may have taken place before Gibson ever grabbed a bat. With Mike Davis batting and 2 out in the ninth, Dodgers left Dave Anderson in the on-deck circle. Pitcher Dave Stewart became careless and walked Davis, which would have been no big deal if Anderson, with 2 homers this season, were due up next.

But then into the dugout went Anderson and out came Gibson and, after just one game, the A's brain trust was already put on the spot.

"We aren't little boys over here, they couldn't fool us, we saw Gibson over there in the dugout," A's dugout coach Bob Watson said the next day.

One problem. Before he walked through on his way to the plate, Gibson was never in the dugout.

The First Signs of Panic--After being shut out 6-0 by Hershiser in Game 2, the usually friendly A's were openly angry.

Dave Parker screamed at reporters to get out of his face. Ron Hassey snapped at questions with one-word answers.

And Glenn Hubbard would not take his head out of his locker.

He was asked, what kind of stuff did Hershiser have?

"What do you think, man," he said, refusing to turn and face the questioners.

Good stuff? Great stuff?

"He had six-to-nothing stuff man, shutout stuff, ain't that enough for you, man?" Hubbard asked.

For the remainder of the series Hubbard went 1 for 6 with a key error and another ground ball that went off his face and, finally, a benching in Game 5.

The Second Signs of Panic--Before Game 2 at Dodger Stadium, the A's announced that on the forthcoming travel day, the entire team would work out at Oakland Coliseum at 2 p.m.

Sometime during the Dodgers 6-0 victory, A's manager Tony La Russa changed his mind, and made the workout voluntary.

It was as if that was what his team had been waiting to hear. The next day in Oakland, just eight A's showed up, none of them bearing uniforms with the names Canseco or McGwire or Parker or Lansford.

Hundreds of media were witness to a surreal scene--a World Series practice that looked like a Little League practice. Kids in shorts shagging fly balls, and players such as reserve Mike Gallego, who didn't come to plate once this series, taking a hundred swings in the batting cage.

Perhaps it was Gallego who best described what the A's may have been feeling.

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