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1988 Dodgers player profile: Shawn Hillegas, in the rotation

Shawn Patrick Hillegas didn't finish the year with the 1988 Dodgers, but he filled a hole in their rotation in the middle of the season before being part of a stretch-drive trade.

Shawn Hillegas is almost certainly not in this photo.
Shawn Hillegas is almost certainly not in this photo.
Getty Images

Shawn Hillegas didn't finish the year with the Dodgers, and wasn't a member of the postseason squads, but he did earn his World Series ring.

How acquired: Hillegas was drafted by the Dodgers in the "secondary phase" of the January 1984 draft, with the fourth overall pick of that phase, after not signing with the Angels as their 26th round pick in the June 1983 draft.

Prior MLB experience: After climbing the ladder in the minors, Hillegas debuted in Dodger blue in August of 1987 when injuries opened space on the roster. In his first appearance he went eight scoreless innings before allowing a run with two outs in the ninth, and was the winning pitcher in the 5-2 Los Angeles victory. Dodger fans thought we really had something. He finished the year with 10 starts in 12 appearances, a 4-3 record, and a 3.57 ERA (113 ERA+, 3.84 FIP) in 58 IP. His K/9 was 7.9, but his BB/9 was a wild 4.8.

1988 age: 23

1988 stats: Hillegas began the year in Albuquerque, but was recalled after Ken Howell couldn't make his second start of the season. He then remained in the rotation after Don Sutton was injured, and until John Tudor was acquired. Much like in his debut, the right-hander tossed 8⅔ innings in his first LA start, and in his first three games accumulated 22⅔ innings while allowing only five earned runs. General Manager Fred Claire wanted to bolster the bullpen for the stretch drive, so on Aug. 30, he dealt Hillegas for left-handed reliever Ricky Horton. For the Dodgers, Hillegas made 10 starts (5 quality) and 1 relief appearance for 56⅔ innings total, with a 3-4 record, 4.13 ERA (82 ERA+, 3.92 FIP), lowering his BB/9 to 2.7, but his K/9 dropped to 4.8.

Regular season game of the year: In his second start of the season, Hillegas tossed six innings of two-hit, shutout ball, while going two-for-two at the plate himself, and earning the win when the Dodgers scored an unearned run in the seventh.

NLCS & World Series performance: He was traded before the postseason.

Post-1988 playing career: Hillegas bounced between the majors and the minors in the White Sox, Indians, Yankees and Athletics organizations. He spent his last professional season in Mexico in 1994 after not making the Angels roster that spring. He totaled 158 more appearances - 42 starts - and 400⅔ more innings as a major-leaguer, with an ERA just under 5.00. And that near shutout in his debut? He finally recorded his only complete-game as a 1-0 shutout of the A's for the 1992 Yankees.

Where he is now: Hillegas did not continue working in baseball, and is currently - at least as of two-plus years ago - living in Lake Stevens, Washington, giving the occasional radio interview, where he reveals tidbits like the fact that Fernando Valenzuela taught him hacky sack.