Steve Garvey

Steven Patrick Garvey (born December 22, 1948) is an American former professional baseball player.[1] He played in Major League Baseball as a first baseman, most notably for the Los Angeles Dodgers.[1] Nicknamed "Mr. Clean" because of his wholesome image during 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).

Steve Garvey
Steve Garvey 2010.JPG
Garvey at Dodger Stadium in June 2010.
First baseman
Born: (1948-12-22) December 22, 1948 (age 71)
Tampa, Florida
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 1, 1969, for the Los Angeles Dodgers
Last MLB appearance
May 23, 1987, for the San Diego Padres
MLB statistics
Batting average.294
Home runs272
Runs batted in1,308
Career highlights and awards

Playing careerEdit

Born in Tampa, Florida to parents who had recently relocated from Long Island, New York,[2] 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.[3] 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).[1] He batted and threw right-handed. In a 19-year career, Garvey was a .294 hitter with 272 home runs and 1308 RBI in 2332 games played.[1]

Michigan State UniversityEdit

Garvey credits Spartan head football coach Duffy Daugherty encouraging him to be a multi-sport athlete in his choosing MSU.[4] He recorded 30 tackles and earned a letter as a defensive back in 1967.[5] His first at-bat in a Spartan uniform resulted in a grand-slam home run, with the ball landing in the Red Cedar River.[6] His baseball jersey number 10 was retired from Michigan State University in 2014,[7] he was named Michigan State Baseball Distinguished Alumnus of the Year in 2009,[8] and he was inducted into the Michigan State University Hall of Fame in 2010.[5] 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.[9]

Los Angeles DodgersEdit

Steve Garvey at bat in the mid-1970s against Cincinnati, in Dodger Stadium

Garvey was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1st round of the 1968 MLB draft (June secondary phase).[1] He made his Major League debut on September 1, 1969 at the age of 20.[1] He appeared in the 7th inning to pinch hit for Ray Lamb. He struck out in his one appearance at the plate. [10] He had two more 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 one of the most enduring infields in baseball history[11] 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.[1] He was selected to eight All-Star Games, and won the All-Star Game MVP Award for the 1974 and 1978 games.[1] 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.[12] Though San Diego had vastly outbid the Dodgers, McKeon particularly noted Garvey's value in providing a role model for younger players.[13] 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.[14] Sports Illustrated ranked the signing as the 15th best free agent signing ever as of 2008.[15]

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".[16] In an unusual homecoming, Garvey tied the record in his first appearance back at Dodger Stadium in Padre brown.[17][18] For breaking the record, he was named the National League Player of the Week. He played in 100 games while having 114 hits, 22 doubles, 14 home runs and 59 RBIs while batting for .294 with a .344 OBP and .802 OPS. He had 29 walks to 39 strikeouts. In fielding, he played 867.2 innings at first base, the lowest at the position since 1973 when he played 647.2 innings. He made 888 putouts, 49 assists, six errors and 69 double plays for a .994 fielding percentage.

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.[19] Game 4, "the best game of the series, and one of the best games in memory", provided a particularly notable effort by Garvey.[19] 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.[19] 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.[19] 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.[19] Following the 7–5 Padres victory, grateful fans thronged against stadium barricades chanting Garvey's name.[19] Garvey, about to play in his fifth World Series, called the experience "the greatest playoffs I've ever seen."[19]

Garvey made his final appearance in a game on May 23, 1987, pinch-hitting for Lance McCullers in the ninth inning. He hit a flyout in his one appearance at the plate. [20]


Padres retired numbers, including Garvey's No. 6, at Petco Park

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.

Garvey is a member of the Irish American Hall of Fame[21] and the Michigan State University Athletics Hall of Fame.[22] 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.[23][24] 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.

In 1981, Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig included him in their book The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time.

During the 1984 season, Garvey set the record as the only first baseman in baseball history to commit no errors while playing 150 or more games.[25] He handled 1,319 total chances (1,232 putouts, 87 assists) flawlessly in 159 games for the Padres.

He was inducted into the Dodgers team hall of fame, Legends of Dodgers Baseball, as part of their inaugural class in 2018.

In his 15 years (1993–2007) on the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot of the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA), Garvey failed to reach the 75% required for induction. His highest percentage of votes was 42.6% in 1995; he received 21.1% in his final year on the ballot. He was subsequently considered by the Expansion Era Committee in voting for 2011 and 2014, and by the Modern Baseball Era Committee in voting for 2018 and 2020, falling short of the 75% threshold each time. In December 2019 voting for the 2020 induction class, Garvey received six votes from the 16-member committee (37.5%).[26]

Post-baseball careerEdit

In 1983 Garvey started Garvey Media Group while playing baseball for the San Diego Padres. Its strength was in Sports Marketing and Corporate Branding and worked on sponsorships for America’s Cup teams during the 80’s.[27] In 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 for corporations. Garvey Communications and began producing TV specials for PrimeTicket and ESPN. The show “International Sportsman” became extremely popular as its theme focused on celebrities, sports and exotic locations around the world.[27]

The 2000s saw a focus change, and Garvey Media Group became a force in corporate branding, through the use of sports, combined with new media technology. Over the years, clients like Pepsi Cola, General Motors, Nestle, McDonald's, Rawlings, American Airlines, Cardservice International, California Pizza Kitchen, Kings Hawaiian, Natural Balance, Sycuan Indian Gaming Casino and more, have benefited from each enhancement of Steve Garvey’s love of business and its development in America.[27]

Since 1990 he has served as a member of the board of BAT, 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.

He resides in Los Angeles and Palm Desert, California.[28]

Personal lifeEdit

Cyndy Truman married Steve Garvey on October 27, 1971; they divorced in 1983. The couple had two daughters. Garvey and his wife, Candace, were married on February 18, 1989. The Garveys have three children together, Sean, Olivia and Ryan Garvey, and four from previous marriages, Taylor Abess, Shaunna Thomas Butler, Whitney Garvey and Krisha Neither.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Steve Garvey at Baseball Reference". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  2. ^ WFAN radio interview Steve Garvey on Mike and the Mad Dog, April 18, 2008
  3. ^ Johnston, Joey (April 21, 2017). "Legacy Gala looks to enlist alumni in restoring Chamberlain's luster". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved June 19, 2019 – via
  4. ^ "Steve Garvey | Video Library". Lansing State Journal. Archived from the original on 2014-01-27. Retrieved 2015-08-15.
  5. ^ a b "MSU Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2010: Steve Garvey – Michigan State Official Athletic Site". 2010-09-29. Retrieved 2014-04-07.
  6. ^ "Steve Garvey | Video Library". Lansing State Journal. Archived from the original on 2014-01-27. Retrieved 2015-08-15.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-01-27. Retrieved 2014-01-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Steve Garvey has jersey retired at Michigan State on Sunday". True Blue LA. Retrieved 2014-04-07.
  9. ^ Dufresne, Chris (2013-12-31). "Michigan State has helped Los Angeles to seven world championships". Retrieved 2014-04-07.
  10. ^ "New York Mets at Los Angeles Dodgers Box Score, September 1, 1969".
  11. ^ "Steve Sax – Los Angeles Dodgers Steve Sax". Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  12. ^ Maisel, Ivan (1983-04-04). "San Diego". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2018-12-23.
  13. ^ Steve Wulf (April 25, 1983). "Incredibly, Steve Garvey's return to L.A. as a Padre – 04.25.83 – SI Vault". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  14. ^ Wulf, Steve (1983-04-25). "It Was Too Good To Be True". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2018-12-23.
  15. ^ Heyman, John (May 15, 2008). "What a deal!". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on 2008-05-19.
  16. ^ "Steve Garvey, Baseball, San Diego Padres – 04.25.83 – SI Vault". Sports Illustrated. April 25, 1983. Archived from the original on 2009-08-09. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  17. ^ Steve Wulf (April 25, 1983). "It Was Too Good To Be True – 04.25.83 – SI Vault". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  18. ^ "Garvey Sets a League Record". The New York Times. Associated Press. 1983-04-17. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-12-23.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g Steve Wulf (October 15, 1984). "You've Got To Hand It To The Padres". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  20. ^ "Montreal Expos at San Diego Padres Box Score, May 23, 1987". Retrieved 2018-12-23.
  21. ^ "Walter O'Malley finally honored in NYC, inducted into Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame | Irish Sports". IrishCentral. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  22. ^ "MSU Athletics Hall of Fame inducts 10 new members". The State News. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  23. ^ "Year in Review - The Sun-Gazette Newspaper".
  24. ^ Steve Garvey – Brooks International Speakers & Entertainment Bureau
  25. ^ "Error Records by First Basemen".
  26. ^ Castrovince, Anthony (December 8, 2019). "Miller, Simmons elected to HOF on Modern Era ballot". Retrieved December 8, 2019.
  27. ^ a b c [1]
  28. ^ Schrotenboer, Brent. "Revisiting the Padres of '84". Retrieved November 8, 2011.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Joe Morgan
National League Player of the Month
September 1976
Succeeded by
Ron Cey