If you heard the story about Tommy Lasorda calling Chad Billingsley a Pit-bull you might think this story has something to do with the BS that Tommy likes to spout about, where he takes credit for Orel's success all because he bestowed a nickname on the timid pitcher. Now Tommy is pulling the same bull with Chad. Nice timing Tommy, since anyone who follows the game is picking our boy Chad to be the staff ace in 2008. I wonder how much credit he will take for Chad's breakout?
Anyway this story is not about Tommy but about Orel's offspring. 6-4-2 gives us the heads up that Orel's son Jordan is playing for USC this spring. Jordan lists his Dad as his biggest sports hero. Since he's a freshman he wasn't even born when his Dad became the stuff legends are made of while pitching the Dodgers to their last World Championship. Still as he was growing up his Dad was pitching in plenty of playoff games and I guess that is what made him list his Dad as his greatest sports hero.
I think for many Dodger fans, Orel might be our greatest sports hero. While Kirk Gibson continues to get well deserved accolades for his role in our last World Championship, it was Orel who was step in step with him all the way until the end. Unlike Gibby, Orel continued his excellence beyond the 1st game of the World Series and made sure the A's never got off the ground. While Jordan Hershiser probably picked Orel because he is his father , it would be a befitting choice for anyone who watched Orel pitch for the Dodgers. Not just in 1988 but from 1984 - 1989, he gave us the 5 best years of any Dodger pitcher since Sandy Koufax was in his heyday. His 1985 season was actually the best season ever by a Dodger starting RHP, based on ERA+ as the metric.
Don Sutton and Don Drysdale are HOF Dodger pitchers, and Fernando is the guy who gets the biggest applause when ex-Dodgers are announced, but none of them could hold a candle to Orel during the late 80's. With Dodger Vice Presidents showing up faster then NBA offspring you would have hoped that they could have found a spot for Orel. Hey, he's an ex-Giant, doesn't that give him a leg up over ex-Dodgers in this new regime?