Orel Hershiser had two different seasons in 1984.
In the first half of the season, he made only a handful of starts, mainly appearing out of the bullpen in his first full season with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Through June 17th, he had a 5.21 ERA.
Then things changed.
He picked up a 2-inning save (his first) on June 21st. Then a second save with three perfect innings (and four strikeouts) on June 23rd.
His next appearance was June 29th, when he threw a complete game win against the Chicago Cubs.
In July, he made 5 starts, 4 of which resulted in shutouts.
Solid pitching continued for the final two months and Hershiser dropped his ERA to 2.66, good enough for 3rd best in the National League.
Orel finished ’84 among the top 10 in WHIP, Strikeouts per 9 IP, Strikeouts, Complete Games, and Shutouts.
This is all pretty phenomenal for a pitcher who made 45 appearances in 1984, only 20 of which were as a starter.
Hershiser finished 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting before placing 3rd in Cy Young voting the next season.
He made three consecutive All-Star Games, running from 1987 through 1989.
In ’88, he won the Cy Young award, going 23-8 with a 2.26 ERA while completing 15 games and racking up 8 shutouts.
1984 wasn’t his absolute best season, but it was a really good one.
It was also a sign of what was to come. Hershiser would go on to be one of the most dominating pitchers of the latter half of the 1980s.