Former Major League Baseball pitcher and BGSU Athletics Hall of Famer Orel Hershiser smiles as he holds a microphone.
Orel Hershiser, right, smiles as BGSU director of athletics Derek van der Merwe looks on during a November, 2023, speech at the Mauer Center on the campus of BGSU. (BGSU photo / Craig Bell)

BGSU, MLB great Orel Hershiser returning to campus to support Falcon baseball

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BGSU Hall of Famer will deliver the keynote speech at BGSU Baseball's inaugural First Pitch Dinner on Jan. 27 at the Bowen-Thompson Student Union

Former Bowling Green State University and Major League Baseball legend Orel Hershiser will return to campus to give the keynote speech for BGSU Baseball’s inaugural First Pitch Dinner at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27, at the Lenhart Grand Ballroom inside the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. 

Hershiser, a BGSU Athletics Hall of Famer, will help kick off the 2024 season at the First Pitch Dinner, which will bring BGSU Baseball fans, alumni and friends together for a night of connection and socialization in support of the program, which is slated to begin the season Feb. 16.

Alumnus and Emmy Award-winning sportscaster Jay Crawford ’87 will emcee the event, at which guests will also hear remarks from BGSU Baseball Head Coach Kyle Hallock, Director of Athletics Derek van der Merwe and other program alumni. 

While at BGSU, Hershiser threw a no-hitter and was a first-team All-Mid-American Conference selection in 1979. Later that year, the Los Angeles Dodgers selected him in the 17th round of the MLB Draft.

After spending four seasons in the minor leagues, Hershiser was a September call-up in 1983, starting his path to stardom with one of baseball’s iconic franchises. Hershiser was at the center of the club’s run to the 1988 World Series against the Oakland Athletics, winning World Series Most Valuable Player to cap off a season in which he also won the National League Cy Young Award and the Gold Glove.

Hershiser pitched in the Major Leagues until age 41, accumulating more than 200 career wins and 3,000 innings pitched.

Saturday will mark Hershiser's second visit to campus this academic year. He came to BGSU in November 2023, during which he spoke to students at the Schmidthorst College of Business and met with the BGSU Baseball Alumni Advisory Group, which coincided with the Falcons’ football game against Toledo. 

During the ESPN broadcast of the game, Hershiser raved about how much he enjoyed the student-centered campus and support at BGSU.

“If you're in high school and you're in Ohio or somewhere nearby – think about Bowling Green. This is a campus you need to come visit because there's extra special stuff going on around here," he said. "What's going on in Bowling Green is really big. It's a big-time place. The campus is unbelievable. Two-thirds of the buildings here were not here when I left in 1979. Everything they've built is complex and on the cutting edge."

Crawford, now an anchor at WKYC-TV in Cleveland, previously worked for ESPN for a 14-year run that included hosting Cold Pizza – the show that morphed into First Take – and co-anchoring SportsCenter for the network.

Guests still interested in registering for the BGSU Baseball First Pitch Dinner may contact Senior Associate AD for Development Nathan Anderson at 419-372-9446.

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Media Contact | Michael Bratton | | 419-372-6349

Updated: 01/29/2024 10:16AM