Blogging about the Bulldog:
Here is my story that aired on KABC 790 as part of the Lasorda at His Best series presented by Skechers:
When Orel Hershiser was called up, the first time I put him in a game Jose Cruz was the hitter and the bases were loaded. He threw a strike, and the next pitch Cruz hits the top of the left-center field fence and clears the bases. The next day I told Ron Perranoski, our pitching coach, to bring Hershiser in because I wanted to talk to him.
“I never saw a pitcher pitch as negatively as you,” I told Hershiser. “You were afraid to throw the ball over the plate. You were saying to yourself, ‘I better not throw the ball there or he is going to hit it.’ Instead, you should have been saying to yourself that you are going to throw the ball there and he aint going to hit it!”
But he was thinking negatively, and he did not have the confidence in himself.
I went on, “And furthermore, I don’t like your first name, Orel. If I bring you in tonight to pitch to Dale Murphy and the PA announces, ‘Now pitching for the Dodgers, number 55, Orel Hershiser,’ Murphy is going to think hitting against you is going to be easy.”
“From now on your name is Bulldog! You are going to act like a bulldog. You are going to pitch like a bulldog. And you are going to walk around like a bulldog!”
“Now when the PA announces number 55, Bulldog Hershiser, Murphy is going to be thinking you have got to be mean to have a name like Bulldog.”
Well, he began to pitch like a bulldog, and everybody knows what he did.
He broke Drysdale’s record. I saw it, but I couldn’t believe it.