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Remembering '88 Dodgers' Hollywood ending

MLB Network documentary premieres Sunday at 5 p.m. PT
MLB.com

BURBANK, Calif. -- From Orel Hershiser's dominant Cy Young Award campaign to Kirk Gibson's postseason heroics, baseball fans can relive the magic of the Dodgers' 1988 season this weekend.

"MLB Network Presents: Only In Hollywood", an hour-long special celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Dodgers' most recent World Series championship, debuts Sunday on MLB Network at 5 p.m. PT. It features narration by Emmy Award-winning actor Bryan Cranston and new interviews with Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda, former Dodgers stars Hershiser and Gibson, and legendary broadcaster Vin Scully, among others.

BURBANK, Calif. -- From Orel Hershiser's dominant Cy Young Award campaign to Kirk Gibson's postseason heroics, baseball fans can relive the magic of the Dodgers' 1988 season this weekend.

"MLB Network Presents: Only In Hollywood", an hour-long special celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Dodgers' most recent World Series championship, debuts Sunday on MLB Network at 5 p.m. PT. It features narration by Emmy Award-winning actor Bryan Cranston and new interviews with Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda, former Dodgers stars Hershiser and Gibson, and legendary broadcaster Vin Scully, among others.

The documentary film -- produced by Dave Patterson, Bruce Cornblatt Jed Tuminaro and Matt Anderton -- premiered Tuesday night at The Burbank Studios' iHeartRadio Theater, the former home of Johnny Carson and Jay Leno's "Tonight Show" tapings.

Scully, Hershiser and former Dodgers general manager Fred Claire -- the architect of the 1988 squad -- were on hand for the premiere. Scully, who retired from broadcasting in 2016 after 67 years behind the mic, received a standing ovation from the screening audience members, who didn't retake their seats until Scully had finished introducing the film and walked off the stage.

"It was fun to have been a part of it," Scully said of that memorable season. "I was just along for the ride, but it was a remarkable ride, and I look back with wonderful feelings for everyone involved."

The 1988 season saw Gibson win the National League Most Valuable Player Award, Hershiser break Don Drysdale's MLB record with 59 consecutive scoreless innings -- a feat that remains untouched to this day -- and the underdog Dodgers make an unexpected run from fourth place in '87 to World Series champions.

Even before getting to the Fall Classic, the Dodgers needed seven games in the NL Championship Series to get past a 100-win Mets club that featured stars such as Dwight Gooden, David Cone and Darryl Strawberry. The Mets entered as heavy favorites after taking 10 of 11 matchups against the Dodgers during the regular season.

Video: Remembering the epic Dodgers, Mets 1988 NLCS

The series was highlighted by Los Angeles' come-from-behind victory against Gooden in Game 4. Catcher Mike Scioscia tied the game in the ninth with a two-run homer, and Gibson finished it in the 12th with his first of two iconic home runs that postseason. Hershiser was named the NLCS MVP Award winner after pitching a shutout in Game 7 to close out the series.

"If Doc Gooden beats them [in Game 4], the Mets go up, 3-1, and the Dodgers are virtually on the ropes," Scully said. "There's a reason to remember it for so many years. It really was a fairy tale."

The 104-win Athletics and their "Bash Brothers" -- Oakland sluggers Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, who combined for 74 home runs in the regular season -- awaited in the World Series, where the Dodgers were again underdogs.

A hobbled Gibson, who injured both of his legs in the NLCS, wasn't expected to play. However, he provided one of baseball's most storied highlights by launching a pinch-hit walk-off homer off Hall of Fame closer Dennis Eckersley to clinch Game 1 for the Dodgers.

Video: WS1988 Gm1: Scully's call of Gibson memorable at-bat

Los Angeles won the franchise's sixth and most recent title in five games. Hershiser was again named MVP of the series; he pitched two complete games, including a Game 2 shutout and the Game 5 clincher.

"It was so dramatic," Scully said. "Gibby coming off the bench wounded, using a bat as a cane, and then hitting the home run, which is unbelievable. It's one of those rare, precious moments. If you're a sports fan, you never forget it."

The 1988 team still resonates in Los Angeles today. Many moments in the documentary elicited cheers from the audience, even 30 years later.

"I think it's because we haven't won another one. The last champions are always honored," Hershiser said. "It was a special team, because we weren't expected to win. The Mets should have beat us, supposedly, on paper in the playoffs going in. And then Oakland was supposed to beat us. ... I think it was a little more euphoric because it was so unexpected."

Video: Must C Classic: Dodgers win 1988 World Series

The Dodgers returned to the World Series last season for the first time since 1988, but ultimately lost in seven games to the Houston Astros. This year's squad again has championship aspirations, but may have to surprise along the way after having dealt with injuries to several key stars, including Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Clayton Kershaw.

"Another special team, but special because of who's getting it done," Hershiser said. "You go in the year think it's going to be Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager who are going carry the offense. And then Bellinger's off to a slump, Seager's having surgery, Justin Turner's hurt and he's on the DL, and now all of a sudden, it's Max Muncy, and Joc Pederson finds some power. Matt Kemp comes back and he's not supposed to be on the team, and all of a sudden he's a major contributor, and he's not only that, he's a starter in the All-Star Game.

"Walker Buehler comes up and does an amazing job. Ross Stripling comes out of the bullpen and does an amazing job. ... It's another one of those special years, because you couldn't write it down on paper, you couldn't try and predict it."

"This team fulfills the definition of fluid," Scully said. "There was one stage earlier where the Dodgers were without Hyun-Jin Ryu, Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill. Three starting pitchers are out of the lineup, and they won 26 of 36. That's when I realized this was not a nine-man team, this was a 25-man team. And the Dodgers have always talked depth; they want backups. That's what they have, that's what's gotten them where they are, and it will get them where they will win the division."

It's an underdog narrative that may sound familiar to fans who witnessed the 1988 team's improbable run.

"I hope," Hershiser said. "I hope [a championship] happens, and I hope it happens soon. Dodgers fans deserve it."

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Dodgers