Yesterday was considered by a lot of people to be the 40th anniversary (that’s ruby if you’re not scoring at home) of the Dodgers first of the use Garvey-Lopes-Russell-Cey infield, one that would persist through the 1981 season.
The Dodgers lost back on June 13, 1973, 16-3 to the Phillies. Also, Steve Garvey didn’t start the game. Tom Paciorek started the game at first base and Garvey didn’t get into the game until the bottom of the 4th, at which point the Phillies were winning 12-2. And, when the game ended, Davey Lopes was playing center field after Lee Lacy entered the game a little later to play second.
The four Dodgers all played in the same game for the first time on April 7, 1973, but only Russell started at the position he would become famous for. Cey entered the game later as a pinch hitter and stayed in at third. Lopes pinch hit and stayed in to play shortstop. Garvey was a pinch hitter. The Dodgers lost that game in San Diego, 4-3, on a walkoff pinch homer by Jerry Morales off of Jim Brewer.
Garvey-Lopes-Russell-Cey all started for the Dodgers together in their regular positions for the first time in the second game of a doubleheader against the Reds on June 23, 1973, which the Dodgers won 5-1. However, Cey left the game early with a pulled tricep muscle and his replacement, Ken McMullen hit a 3-run homer.
(Even more pointless aside: in newspaper accounts, Reds manager Sparky Anderson was asked why he was starting four lefties against the Dodgers, which would let the Dodgers use Manny Mota, then leading the NL in batting average to play every game. Anderson thought that a player Mota’s age would wear down in the heat of the series and there were four games in three days. Mota batted 8 for 16 in the four games. The Dodgers led the division in 1973 by 8 1/2 games on July 17, but were finally caught by the Reds in early September when the Dodgers were getting swept by the Giants at Candlestick, in the middle of a 9-game losing streak. The Reds won the division by 3 1/2 games.)
Walter Alston would mix and match his infielders for the rest of the 1973 season and it wouldn’t be until 1974 that Dodger fans could start to take the names Garvey, Lopes, Russell, and Cey as givens in the starting lineup.
In news from today, A.J. Ellis is back. Ramon Hernandez has been designated for assignment, making him the 2nd Dodger in 2 straight years to have his last AB with the team (and possibly the majors) be a home run. Adam Kennedy did the same last year.
Yasiel Puig is back in the lineup in the leadoff spot and Hanley Ramirez starts again at shortstop and bats cleanup. Enjoy that sight while you can.