Why Dodgers Fans Love: Rich Hill
The Los Angeles Dodgers have a great core of players, and a talented roster. That’s why Dodgers Nation has decided to run a ‘Why We Love’ series, featuring some of your favorite Dodgers players. Our third installment focuses on possibly the most popular current Dodgers player. In this installment, we focus on why we love Rich Hill.
What a journey it’s been for Rich Hill. Many people might not realize he was selected by the Chicago Cubs all the way back in the 2002 MLB draft. He wouldn’t make the big leagues for three years later, and debuted in 2005 posting a 9.13 ERA in 10 appearances. The sheer odds of Hill still pitching at the highest level today are one in a million. In fact, his entire career has in some ways been a million-to-one shot. Maybe that’s why I’ve always felt drawn to Hill, even before his days in Dodger blue.
In the first decade of his career, Hill followed his time in Wrigleyville with stops in Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, New York, Anaheim, Boston (again), and Oakland. There were more bumps in the road than one could count – Hill even signed a winter contract with the Washington Nationals but was released in 2015 without getting a chance in the big leagues.
Hill has overcome two major arm surgeries. One was to repair a torn labrum and the other was Tommy John surgery. Still, Hill has found a way to survive by re-inventing himself as a pitcher.
On August 1st of the 2016 season, Hill was traded from Oakland to Los Angeles along with Josh Reddick. The Dodgers sent highly-touted prospects Jharel Cotton and Frankie Montas along with Grant Holmes to Oakland. Hill posted a 1.83 ERA down the stretch for the Dodgers in 2016, and has appeared in seven postseason games for Los Angeles since that time.
Rich Hill is still surviving to the tune of almost 777 lifetime innings. Now, it’s time to look at why we love Rich Hill.
Why We Love Rich Hill
I knew that Hill was pretty good before the Dodgers acquired him. After I read this article a month after the acquisition, I knew the Dodgers had landed a special talent. When Hill is on his game – he’s about as difficult a pitcher to hit in terms of stuff as Clayton Kershaw.
There are so many other reasons that Rich Hill is one of my favorite pitchers in baseball. He’s a true survivor. The amount of times he’s overcome adversity and to think of the work he’s put in to still be able to do his craft. His love for the game of baseball should be obvious.
Remember when Hill signed an extension with the Dodgers? Here’s the press conference. He was filled with emotion, and it meant so much to him that he was finally wanted and could finally call somewhere home.
By many accounts, Hill is one of the friendliest players in the Dodgers’ clubhouse. He always wants the ball in a big spot. Baseball is meant to be fun, and Hill’s unconventional sidearm style along with his stance in the batter’s box always brings a smile to my face.
I will never forget how gutsy his efforts were in games two and six of the 2017 World Series. If Dodgers fans are honest – they were nervous about Hill in these outings. And he was nothing short of phenomenal when the lights were brightest. He had the Dodgers in position to win both of those games, and helped force a game seven.
His longevity is just so very impressive. In a sport where pitchers cycle in and out of our view almost weekly, Hill has found a way to be a fixture into his late 30’s. He also won me a fantasy baseball title in 2016, so I’m forever in debt (thank you Rich).
Rich Hill will always be one of my favorite pitchers ever, for these reasons above and so many more. Some are listed below.
Why Love You Rich Hill
Letting the crowd rip into Gurriel in the WS
— jack (@trapuockcaj) June 21, 2018
Because he has a FANTASTIC batting stance and makes some great faces. #PitchersWhoRake pic.twitter.com/bCfqdNvNxX
— PammyN (@nothwang_pam) June 22, 2018
— Ran (@RAND_E_Z) June 21, 2018
I Love Rich because He never gives up, He just works harder. I admire Him.
— Lisa (@gudebutton64) June 22, 2018
Because he looks like he is doing the karate kid crane kick after the pitch
— Garrisone P (@GarrisoneP) June 21, 2018
His personality, the fact that he can take a fastball to his neck and still stay in the game, he’s my hero?
— Lydia Navarro (@pln140) June 22, 2018
Special submission here (thank you):
— John Hill (@beatonhill) June 22, 2018
I love his intensity. The dude wants to win.
— Suzy (@suzq0818) June 22, 2018
Two reasons . 1st bought dinner for his minor league teammates . 2nd he’s capable of throwing a no hitter every time he pitches .
— Mike Gutierrez (@pressroom1) June 22, 2018
The reason why i love him is because he plays whit his heart on his sleeve even when he on the bunch/DL Supporting his teammates
— johnny2xx (@FadedAssFools) June 21, 2018
He has the passion and enthusiasm of a rookie. He even hops after his delivery.
— angelo renna (@Troy_on_Hudson) June 22, 2018
The outpour we received from our twitter submissions were so great to read. There were many fan submissions that didn’t make the post. In short, the love from Dodger Nation for Rich Hill is overwhelmingly strong.
Thank you for being a great Dodger, Rich!
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While I recognize what the man has gone through and his fire and drive to excel, I also look at the fact that he has not been available to pitch enough for me to even like the guy. They paid millions of dollars for a guy made out of paper mache. He breaks down far too much for my liking. When he is good, he is very good, but when he is bad, which has been a lot, he is horrible. His penchant for the HR has put the Dodgers in holes the hitters have not been able to dig out of, plus the string of short outings that put all the pressure on the bullpen which has been worked to near historic proportions. Love him if you like, I think he is nothing more than your average journeyman player and no where near worth the money they signed him for.