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Hershiser Hanging Up Spikes


Orel Hershiser, waived by the Los Angeles Dodgers last week after one of the worst outings of his career, announced Thursday that he is retiring.

The 1988 NL Cy Young winner and World Series MVP with the Dodgers, Hershiser struggled after rejoining the club as a free agent last winter. His ERA was 13.14 in 10 appearances, including six starts, but totaled just 24 2-3 innings.

In what was to be his final appearance on the mound, the 41-year-old Hershiser, nicknamed "The Bulldog", gave up eight runs in the second inning of a 9-5 loss to San Diego on June 26.

Even as he left the field after that poor outing, he received a standing ovation from the Dodger Stadium crowd.

Hershiser, still under contract to the Dodgers, plans to continue to work for the team in an unspecified capacity, traveling to the minor league affiliates and learning the business from a different angle.

He pitched a major league record 59 consecutive scoreless innings in 1988, finishing with a 23-8 record and 2.26 ERA. He also pitched 24 2-3 innings in the NLCS, going 1-0 with a 1.09 ERA against the Mets, before winning two World Series games against heavily favored Oakland.

Hershiser, who pitched 353 career games in Los Angeles, briefly recaptured some of his former glory when he won the Dodgers' home opener this season, beating Cincinnati 8-1. But he went into a severe tailspin and lost his last five decisions.

He developed control problems and didn't win after the home opener. Hershiser matched a modern major league record, hitting four batters in a 10-3 loss to Houston on April 19, in just 1 1-3 innings.

A three-time All-Star, Hershiser has a career record of 204-150 with a 3.49 ERA. He also pitched with Cleveland, San Francisco and the New York Mets before returning to the Dodgers.

The Dodgers are responsible for paying his entire $2 million salary this year and a $500,000 buyout of next year's $2 million option. The buyout is deferred at 5 percent interest, payable on July 1, starting in 2001.

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