Friday, July 27, 2012

Coming in March – “Miracle Men: Gibson, Hershiser and the Improbable 1988 Dodgers”

“But the Bulldog in him came out when, after the Athletics were disposed of, he walked down the hallway to the interview room in the Oakland Coliseum and an A's fan yelled, ‘You were lucky, Hershiser.’ A couple of dozen steps later, Hershiser blurted out, ‘Oh yeah – grab a bat.’ He wasn't smiling.”

That was the final paragraph of Peter Gammons' story on Orel Hershiser in the October 31, 1988 edition of Sports Illustrated. The A's fan was a 15-year-old named Josh Suchon, whose eyes were red with tears, and who would cry himself to sleep later that night. Three decades later, Suchon is now 38 years old, the former co-host of “Post Game Dodger Talk” on 790 KABC in Los Angeles, and author of the upcoming book “Miracle Men: Hershiser, Gibson and the Improbable 1988 Dodgers.”

Triumph Books will publish the book in the spring of 2013, in connection with the 25th anniversary.

That Dodgers team crushed the author's heart as a teen-ager, but now he reflects fondly on an championship that's crazy even by Hollywood standards. Most champions contain a Who's Who of stars. That Dodgers team fielded a World Series lineup that had the audience asking, “Who and Who?”

The year is most remembered for Kirk Gibson's dramatic home run in Game One of the World Series, Orel Hershiser's pitching dominance, and manager Tommy Lasorda's masterful motivation. But there was much more that made the season memorable, bittersweet, and controversial.

There was the trades of fan favorites Bob Welch and Pedro Guerrero; the end of Don Sutton's career, the beginning of Ramon Martinez’s career, and the decline of Fernando Valenzuela; the spring training tantrum by Gibson that set the tone for the season because previous teams weren't serious enough; the suspension of closer Jay Howell for having pine tar in his glove during the playoffs, and his redemption at the ballpark where the home fans once booed him; dramatic playoff home runs by unlikely heroes Mike Scioscia, Mickey Hatcher and Mike Davis; the walk by Davis that made Gibson's home run possible; and most of all, a 46-day stretch of pitching by Hershiser that hasn't been equaled, and never will.

More than a book about the players and games, the author will track down fans who left early and missed Gibson's famed home run, including some future major leaguers. It will be argued this game forever branded Dodgers fans for “arriving late and leaving early.” The history of the baseball that Gibson hit will be detailed by the (many) people who claim to own it.

It's all captured in “Miracle Men” by an unlikely author -- using new interviews with players, coaches, broadcasters and fans; combing through files of old newspapers, magazines and books; and utilizing the perspective of three decades.

JOSH SUCHON is a former reporter at The Oakland Tribune, the former co-host of “Post Game Dodger Talk” on 790 KABC, and currently a free-lance play-by-play announcer with credits on ESPNU. He also authored, “This Gracious Season,” the inside story of Barry Bonds' record-setting, 73-homer season in 2001.

For more updates, sneak peaks, pre-orders, a chance to win a free signed copy, and deleted scenes from this book, follow Josh on Twitter @Josh_Suchon, and check back on this blog frequently.

If you were at Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, and would like to share your memory for possible inclusion in this book, follow this link.

No comments:

Post a Comment