The people have been clamoring about the world-famous Questions from Craig segment, so we made an entire episode out of it this week.
Craig Minami joins us to make some predictions for the season, including some over/unders on offense, pitching, and for the team. There is of course trivia involved as well.
This is a very focused look back, at not just Fernando Valenzuela, but specifically the first eight starts of his career, the very start of Fernandomania in 1981.
Valenzuela, who burst onto the scene in September 1980 with 17⅔ innings with a zero ERA (he allowed two runs, but both were unearned) in a pennant race, was the surprise opening day starter in 1981 at age 20 after Jerry Reuss pulled a calf muscle the day before.
Valenzuela shut out the Astros, and proceeded to pitch five shutouts in his first eight major league starts. He was 8-0, having pitched nine innings in every game in those eight starts, and allowed four total runs. It was a wild ride, one that culminated in a Rookie of the Year award, a Cy Young Award, and a World Series triumph. Not bad for a 20-year-old.
After his first eight starts in 1981, Valenzuela had a 0.50 ERA on the season. For his career to that point, it was 0.40 in 89⅔ innings. His opening day start that year was April 9, making this year’s home opener the 40th anniversary. It would be a perfect time for the Dodgers to officially retire Valenzuela’s number 34, which hasn’t been issued to anyone else since he left three decades ago.
Episode link (time: 1:17:15)