By unanimous vote, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser was named winner of the National
League's Cy Young Award Thursday, which means, in order of importance, that:- Hershiser was judged to be the best pitcher in the league, ahead of the Cincinnati Reds' Danny Jackson and the New York Mets' David Cone, the only pitchers to receive runner-up votes.
- Jim Palmer no longer will be the only Cy Young winner appearing in underwear ads.
- Japanese hitters apparently know something their American counterparts don't.
Unlike Palmer, however, there will be no beefcake posters of Hershiser, the pitcher promised at a press conference in Dodger Stadium, where he appeared fully clothed.
"Anything I do will be in clothes - I put it in the contract," said a smiling Hershiser, whose deal with BVD is just one of numerous endorsement contracts coming his way this winter. "No brief shots. With my body, it would be very brief.
"My body looks like I work in a flour factory."
Hershiser's right arm, however, was good for one more shutout Thursday, as he received all 24 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Two members in each league city selected Hershiser, who was 23-8 with a 2.26 earned-run average, pitched a record 59 consecutive scoreless innings, threw eight shutouts, then won three more games and saved another in the league playoffs and World Series. He did not lose a game after Aug. 14.
Jackson, who also finished 23-8, was second, and Cone, 20-3 for the Mets, was third. Hershiser is the 12th unanimous winner, and it was the eighth time a Dodger won the award. The last was Fernando Valenzuela in 1981.
"My career will go downhill from here, I'm sure - sorry, Fred," cracked Hershiser, directing his comment to Fred Claire, the Dodgers' executive vice president, who faces the possibility of Hershiser's taking the team to arbitration this winter for a contract in the $2 million-plus range.
Contract discussions haven't even begun, said Hershiser, who only Wednesday returned from Japan, where he was touring with a team of major league all-stars.
Hershiser said he was overwhelmed by the attention he received there.
"I couldn't believe how many people knew me there," he said. "It was almost a rock star thing. It was really weird. They had to have (security) people around me wherever I was going."
But he was hardly the dominant pitcher he had been Stateside. In his last start Tuesday, Hershiser yielded five runs, including a home run, in 31/3 innings.
"The Japanese don't think I'm that good," Hershiser said with a smile.
"It was hard to explain to the Japanese media that I wasn't really trying. I just wanted to throw the ball down the middle and not get hurt."
Hershiser said he had hardly had the time to do his laundry since the season ended, never mind sitting back and trying to comprehend what he and the Dodgers accomplished.
"I haven't even gotten to see a highlight film," Hershiser said.
"(But) the things I accomplished this season will be hard to repeat. To put it all together the way it happened this year will be very hard . . . it just all flowed."
Dodgers Manager Tom Lasorda, who was in Boston for a speaking engagement, telephoned his congratulations.
"He told me that the hardest part is trying to do it again," Hershiser said.
"See - he's already trying to motivate me again. He said, `You'd better stay in shape this winter.' "