In 1988 in an all California World Series the Los Angeles Dodgers 94-67 still managed by Tommy Lasorda met the Oakland Athletics 104-58 managed by Tony LaRussa who won the first of six pennants in his 33 year long managing career.
It would be a battle of future Hall of Fame managers.
The Dodgers were paced by Kirk Gibson formerly with Detroit in left field 25HR/76RBI/.290BA/106RS/31SB, Mike Marshall 20HR/82RBI and Steve Sax with 42 stolen bases.
Their pitching staff was headed by NL Cy Young Award winner Orel Hershiser 23-8/2.26ERA with Tim Leary 17-11/2.91ERA and Tim Belcher 12-6/2.91ERA as starters and Jay Howell and Alexandro Pena as the closers in the bullpen.
The Oakland pitching staff featured Dave Stewart 21-12, Bob Welch 17-9, and Storm Davis 16-7 and in the bullpen the AL save leader with 45 Dennis Eckersley.
They were led in hitting by AL MVP Joe Canseco 42HR/124RBI/.307BA/120RS/40SB, Mark McGwire 32HR/98RBI and Dave Henderson 24HR/94RBI/.304BA.
The series opened in Dodger Stadium in LA with Dave Stewart facing Tim Belcher. Jose Canseco belted a grand slam home run in the second inning and the A’s led 4-3 with three outs to go for a win. Stewart had pitched eight innings and Eckersley was on for the save.
He got the first two outs on a fly ball and a strikeout needing only one more out but then did what no manager wants a pitcher to do in that situation-walked the next hitter. Lasorda sent in Kirk Gibson to pinch hit and he slammed a walk off home run for a 5-4 Dodger victory and they are up 1-0.
Game two was all Orel Hershiser. He pitched a complete game three hit shutout with Mike Marshall providing a two run homer and the A’s are down two games to none.
Game three shifted to Oakland Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland with Bob Welch facing John Tudor who just the previous year had been in the WS with the Cardinals.
It was a tie game 1-1 with each team’s pitching being stingy with runs going into the bottom of the ninth inning with Jay Howell on the mound for the Dodgers.
Howell got the first out but Mark McGwire stepped to the plate and belted a home run over the left center field fence and the A’s get their first win 2-1 and the Series likewise goes to 2-1.
Game four was equally close with Dave Stewart and Tim Belcher in as the starters. With the help of two unearned runs off of Stewart and a fielder’s choice RBI by Tracy Woodson in the seventh, the Dodgers led 4-3 going into the bottom of the ninth inning.
With Jay Howell pitching and one out Dave Henderson singled with Jose Canseco and Dave Parker due up. Howell struck out Canseco and got Parker on a foul out and the Dodgers put the Athletics on the edge of elimination with a 4-3 win to go ahead 3-1 in the series.
Hershiser was back and again effective as he limited the A’s to two runs in a complete game victory. Two run home runs by Mickey Hatcher (who had hit only one all year) and Mike Davis (who had hit only two all year) provided enough runs for a 5-2 win in the game and the series.
The series had three one run games and errors in game five hurt the Athletics. They batted only .177 as a team and two of the best power hitters in the game, Jose Conseco and Mark McGwire batted only .053 and .059. Canseco’s only hit was his grand slam in game one.
Hershiser got the series MVP and the A’s returned the next year to the Fall Classic while Dodgers did not return until 20
Ron Griffitts a contributing columnist for the Daily Advocat