LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — It has been 29 years since the Los Angeles Dodgers were last in the World Series — and former Dodger Mickey Hatcher played a pivotal role in securing that 1988 championship.
“It’s amazing for Dodgers fans,” Hatcher told KCAL9/CBS2’s Joy Benedict. “They’ve been waiting a long time!”
It was a World Series Hatcher will never forget.
“The difference between their team and our team is that we had a bunch of old guys trying to survive and go out with a blaze of glory, which we did,” said Hatcher.
Twelve players on this year’s team weren’t even born to see Hatcher set the tone for a championship run the last time the Dodgers were on the world stage.
“Dave Stewart was an old teammate of mine and I told him before the game I was gonna hit a home run off him my first at bat,” said Hatcher. “He said — ‘not if I throw it at your head.’ ”
And when the moment happened, he didn’t look back.
He ran in like he thought they were gonna take it off the scoreboard. He ran in a hurry.
“When I got in the dugout [Dodgers Manager] Tommy [Lasorda] said — ‘go back out there and run the bases the right way when you hit the home run.’ I was just excited to be there.”
And Hatcher says it’s that same excitement that he sees in this year’s team.
“When you get in the World Series it’s tough. It’s a grind. But it doesn’t seem like it’s a grind for this team — that’s the difference,” said Hatcher.
And Hatcher says watching Kiké Hernandez last week step up with three home runs, including a grand slam, proves that “teams” win the World Series — not individual players.
“I was a utility player at the time like a lot of these guys were and Tommy gave me an opportunity with [former Dodger player Kirk] Gibson getting hurt to be the guy,” said Hatcher.
Nowadays Hatcher gets to just be a fan — hanging out on his porch, dressing up his pet duck Dodger Daphney. And positioning his Dodger lawn flag like everyone else. But he isn’t like everyone else. Because Hatcher knows what it takes to win and he says that includes the fans.
“They’re gonna be the ones to set the tone for the first couple of games,” said Hatcher. “It’s gonna take them to get the players excited and get them through the first few innings.”
So he will be there Tuesday cheering them on and waving the one thing everyone on the field wish they had.
“It’s all about this [championship ring],” said Hatcher. “You gotta go home with jewelry baby!”