Orel Hershisher’s 59 consecutive scoreless-innings streak doesn’t seem to get the same respect as Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak. Not even from the man who set the record.
“You know, if someone came to me and told me I could still pitch or I’d have to give up my 59 scoreless-innings streak, I’d say, ‘OK, here it is,’” Hershiser told Metro on Thursday. “I don’t really sit back and reflect on it. I don’t Google my name and see what is written about me.”
If he did, the 52-year-old would see he’s an analyst for ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball.” This Sunday — for the second straight week — the show will be setting up shop by the Mike Schmidt statue outside Citizens Bank Park.
Last Sunday, Hershiser was in the booth when news broke that Osama bin Laden had been killed. Slowly and sporadically, Phillies fans broke into a “USA, USA” chant.
“I had goosebumps,” he said. “I took my headset off, stuck my head outside the booth and listened. Those fans are very verbal about their passions.”
Those passions are usually reserved for the Phillies, a team Hershiser grew up rooting for. Philadelphia entered 2011 as the favorite to win the NL pennant, with their Phab Four rotation. They have done little to discredit those predictions.
“Just as good as we thought,” Hershiser said of the Phillies’ starting rotation. “The offense has been opportunistic, not dominant, but opportunistic in scoring runs.”
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Runs are down all across the majors, and fans are still flocking to ballparks nationwide.
“I think pitching sells just as much as hitting,” Hershiser said. “You get a chance to pay attention to how beautiful the game can be when one run or 90 feet is crucial to the outcome.”
But what if someone broke that 59 scoreless-innings streak?
“I got to have my day and I hope someone else gets to have their day,” Hershiser said.
Home sweet home?
Orel Hershiser credits the Philadelphia area for helping him fall in love with sports.
The former ace played high school baseball at Cherry Hill East, and ice hockey for the Philadelphia Junior Flyers. He grew up rooting for the Broad Street Bullies, Eagles and Phillies. Hershiser also learned how to drive — albeit reluctantly — on the city’s roadways.
“Not a fan of the Schuylkill Expressway,” Hershiser joked.