Steven Patrick Garvey (born December 22, 1948) is an American former professional baseball player and current Southern California businessman. He played in Major League Baseball as a first baseman, most notably for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Nicknamed "Mr. Clean" because of the wholesome image he portrayed throughout his career in baseball, Garvey was the 1974 National League Most Valuable Player Award winner, a two-time National League Championship Series MVP (1978 and 1984), a 10-time All-Star, and a two-time MVP of the All-Star Game (1974 and 1978). He holds the National League record for consecutive games played (1,207).
Garvey at Dodger Stadium in June 2010.
December 22, 1948 |
|September 1, 1969, for the Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|May 23, 1987, for the San Diego Padres|
|Runs batted in||1,308|
|Career highlights and awards|
Born in Tampa, Florida to parents who had recently relocated from Long Island, New York, from 1956 to 1961, Garvey was a bat boy for the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers during spring training. Garvey played football and baseball at Michigan State University after graduating from Chamberlain High School. Garvey played his entire career in the National League West for two teams; the Los Angeles Dodgers (1969–82) and San Diego Padres (1983–87). He batted and threw right-handed. In a nineteen-year career, Garvey was a .294 hitter with 272 home runs and 1308 RBI in 2332 games played.
Michigan State UniversityEdit
Garvey credits Spartan head football coach Duffy Daugherty encouraging him to be a multi-sport athlete in his choosing MSU. He recorded 30 tackles and earned a letter as a defensive back in 1967. His first at-bat in a Spartan uniform resulted in a grand-slam home run, with the ball landing in the Red Cedar River. His baseball jersey number 10 was retired from Michigan State University in 2014, he was named Michigan State Baseball Distinguished Alumnus of the Year in 2009, and he was inducted into the Michigan State University Hall of Fame in 2010. Garvey was featured in the LA Times as one of the three Spartan athletes that have helped Los Angeles professional sports teams win a combined seven world championships.
Los Angeles DodgersEdit
Garvey was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1st round of the 1968 MLB draft (June secondary phase). He made his Major League debut on September 1, 1969 at the age of 20. He had three plate appearances in 1969, all as a pinch hitter, and recorded his first hit on September 10, off Denny Lemaster of the Houston Astros. He played third base for the Dodgers in 1970 and hit his first home run on July 21, 1970, off Carl Morton of the Montreal Expos. He moved to first base in 1973 after the retirement of Wes Parker.
Garvey was part of the most enduring infield in baseball history along with third baseman Ron Cey, shortstop Bill Russell and second baseman Davey Lopes. The four infielders stayed together as the Dodgers' starters for eight and a half years.
Garvey is one of only two players to have started an All-Star Game as a write-in vote, doing so in 1974. That year he won the NL MVP award, and had the first of six 200-hit seasons. Only 16 players in all of Major League Baseball history have had six or more 200 hit seasons (as of the end of 2017).
In the 1978 National League Championship Series, which the Dodgers won over the Philadelphia Phillies, Garvey hit four home runs, and added a triple for five extra base hits, both marks tying Bob Robertson's 1971 NLCS record and earning him the League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award; Jeffrey Leonard would tie the NLCS home run record in the 1987 NLCS.
With the Dodgers, Garvey played in 1,727 games over 14 seasons and hit .301 with 211 homers and 992 RBI. He was selected to eight All-Star Games, and won the All-Star Game MVP Award for the 1974 and 1978 games. He also won the 1981 Roberto Clemente Award, finished in the top 10 in the NL MVP Award voting five times and won four straight Gold Glove Awards from 1974–1977.
San Diego PadresEdit
In December 1982 Garvey signed with the Padres for $6.6 million over five years in what some felt was a "masterstroke" to General Manager Jack McKeon's effort to rebuild the team. Though San Diego had vastly outbid the Dodgers, McKeon particularly noted Garvey's value in providing a role model for younger players. Additionally, Garvey's "box office appeal"—his impending departure from the Dodgers provoked some Girl Scouts to picket the stadium—helped San Diego increase its season ticket sales by 6,000 seats in Garvey's first year. Sports Illustrated ranked the signing as the fifteenth best free agent signing ever as of 2008.
His first season in San Diego allowed him to break the National League's record for consecutive games played, a feat that landed him on the cover of Sports Illustrated as baseball's "Iron Man." (In an unusual homecoming, Garvey tied the record in his first appearance back at Dodger Stadium in Padre gold.)
It was Garvey's second season in San Diego, however, that would provide his highlight in a Padres uniform. Led by Garvey, winning his second National League Championship Series MVP award, the Padres won their first National League pennant over the Chicago Cubs in 1984. Game 4, "the best game of the series, and one of the best games in memory", provided a particularly notable effort by Garvey. His hot bat provided excellent insurance for the top of the order, including future Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, who drew an intentional walk that Garvey converted into one of his four crucial RBI. After supplying critical hits in the third, fifth, and seventh innings, Garvey capped off his efforts with a two-run walk-off home run off future all-time saves leader Lee Smith in the ninth inning. As he rounded third base, Garvey, who after the game would be compared by teammates to fictional baseball hero Roy Hobbs, was met by fellow Padres who later carried him off the field in celebration. Following the 7–5 Padres victory, grateful fans thronged against stadium barricades chanting Garvey's name. Garvey, about to play in his fifth World Series, called the experience "the greatest playoffs I've ever seen."
Garvey set a National League record with 1207 consecutive games played, from September 3, 1975, to July 29, 1983. The streak ended when he broke his thumb in a collision at home plate against the Atlanta Braves. It is the fourth-longest such streak in Major League Baseball history.
He is a member of the Irish American Hall of Fame and the Michigan State University Athletics Hall of Fame. In 1978, Steve Garvey Junior High School, in Lindsay, California, was named for him but was eventually renamed as part of Reagan Elementary in 2011. Garvey's jersey No. 6, worn when he was both a Padre and Dodger, is retired by the Padres. His number was displayed at the site of his 1984 NLCS home run in right field at Qualcomm Stadium.
During the 1984 season, he set the record as the only first baseman in baseball history to commit no errors while playing 150 or more games. He handled 1,319 total chances (1,232 putouts, 87 assists ) flawlessly in 159 games for the Padres.
Garvey, a Republican who harbored political ambitions after baseball, earned the nickname "Senator" from teammates. Those aspirations diminished after the public learned embarrassing details of his personal life.
Also, starting in the mid-1980s he began the Steve Garvey celebrity Blue Marlin tournament, as well as the Steve Garvey celebrity skiing challenge. These were featured on ESPN co-hosted with wife Candace Garvey starting in 1989.
Since 1988, he headed Garvey Communications, mainly involved in television production including infomercials. He also hosted Baseball's Greatest Games. In addition he did motivational speaking, mainly for corporations.
Garvey spent 15 years in the Community Affairs department for the Dodgers, where he was a greeter for VIP season ticket holders and a consultant for community relations. He was fired by the team on July 8, 2011 after some public comments he made critical of Dodger owner Frank McCourt and his involvement in a group trying to take over ownership of the team. Garvey subsequently put together a group, that also included fellow former Dodger Orel Hershiser, that became involved in the bidding process for the Dodgers when the team was later put up for sale in 2012. His group did not make it past the first round of the bidding.
In his 15 years on the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, he failed to reach the 75% required for induction. His highest total of votes received was 42.6% in 1995. He was dropped off the ballot after receiving 21.1% in his final year on the ballot in 2007.
Garvey, who made over $10 million in his career only to go broke afterwards, as of 2017 served as a member of the board of the Baseball Assistance Team, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to helping former Major League, Minor League, and Negro League players through financial and medical hardships.
Garvey, known as "Mr. Clean", seemingly had a "clean" personal life during his early playing days. Manager Tommy Lasorda once commented, "If he ever came to date my daughter, I'd lock the door and not let him out." In the mid to late-1980s, however, Garvey engaged in a series of overlapping relationships.
At the age of 22, Garvey married Cynthia Truhan in 1971. They had two children, Krisha and Whitney. Cynthia left Garvey for composer Marvin Hamlisch. (Cyndy would later claim Garvey "gave me away" to Hamlisch after a private two-hour conversation.) Garvey was already romantically involved with his secretary. The couple separated and filed for divorce in September 1981. Garvey later filed for an annulment from Cyndy Garvey in the archdiocese of Detroit, after seven and half years the annulment was granted.
Garvey discovered in July 1988 that Cheryl Moulton was pregnant with his child, Ashleigh, a pregnancy Garvey subsequently claimed was intentional on Moulton's part, but without his consent.
Although Moulton was pregnant with his child, Garvey proposed to Rebecka Mendenhall, telling Rebecka about Ms. Moulton in November 1988. Garvey and Mendenhall had been in a relationship since August 1986 cross country. He claimed to have asked her to become engaged because of what he termed her "ultimatum" to move on.
In January 1989, Garvey also became engaged to Candace Thomas, whom he met at a benefit for the Special Olympics. He broke the engagement with Mendenhall in a phone call the night of January 2,. Their only child, Slade, was born October 13, 1989.
When these details became public, Garvey's post-baseball political ambitions were widely seen to have disappeared under the weight of two illegitimate children. Garvey, in the midst of what he later termed a "midlife disaster", sued Cyndy, his ex-wife, for access to his two children. His daughters testified in court they did not love their father and did not wish to see him. Cyndy Garvey was handcuffed and jailed, based on 167 counts of contempt. Under the shadow of multiple lawsuits and damage to his reputation, Garvey lost business opportunities, declared himself broke, and found himself paying half his monthly television earnings in child support, and millions in legal fees. He and Candace Thomas married in February 1989, and had three children, Ryan, Olivia, and Sean. The Garveys remain married and still reside in Southern California.
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