Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Tag: Steve Garvey (Page 1 of 2)

1981 World Series MVP Award Presentation: The wrong Steve

Mike Littwin/Los Angeles Times

It was weird enough, after the Dodgers won the 1981 title, when they split the World Series Most Valuable Player Award among three players.

It became weirder still when Bob Uecker and MLB commissioner Bowie Kuhn included the wrong man, Steve Garvey, in the award presentation. It was Steve Yeager, not Garvey, who had been voted the winner alongside Ron Cey and Pedro Guerrero.

Howard Rosenberg/Los Angeles Times

Garvey expressed heartfelt gratitude for the award that he wouldn’t get to keep. Yeager, hovering in the background at the outset, eventually got to the microphone, though he is never named as a tri-MVP winner. Guerrero got a big hug from Al Campanis, but no chance to speak at all. 

Enjoy the presentation above, in all its awkward glory.

Visiting the Hall of Fame
Part 2: On to Los Angeles

As I mentioned a couple days ago, on July 14 I made my second visit to Cooperstown, and first as an adult. I took tons of pictures, and couldn’t help wanting to share some with you. Today, here is a set of shots focusing on the Dodgers, dating from their move to Los Angeles. 

Read More

The Hall of Fame, the Dodgers and the Harold Baines effect

So now Fernando Valenzuela has to get in. So now Gil Hodges has to get in. So now Orel Hershiser has to get in. So now Steve Garvey has to get in. So now …

Read More

Versatile Dodgers move from Iron Men to Graphene Gang

Bill Russell with Walter Alston

If you have any sense of Los Angeles Dodger history (and if you don’t, click here!), you know about the iron man.

Steve Garvey played in every game the Dodgers had from 1976 through 1982 — 1,083 in all, and except for eight pinch-hitting appearances, all at his favored position of first base. At his durability peak in 1976, Garvey played in 1,464 2/3 innings, or all but six innings the Dodgers played that year.

Surprisingly, that 1976 season didn’t make Garvey the Dodgers’ all-time single-season innings leader. In a largely forgotten but rather astonishing 1973 season, Bill Russell was on the field at shortstop for every single out the Dodgers made except for four of them.

Playing at fair territory’s most challenging defensive position, Russell logged 1,489 2/3 innings and 160 complete games, both franchise records. He left only two games early:

  • On April 7, in the Dodgers’ second game of the season, Russell gave way in the top of the ninth inning to pinch-hitter Von Joshua, who hit a game-tying RBI single. Davey Lopes, who scored the tying run as a pinch-runner, went to shortstop for the first time in his MLB career in the bottom of the ninth, which lasted only two batters before Jerry Morales hit a walkoff homer against Dodger reliever Jim Brewer.
  • On July 21, Russell took a breather in the bottom of the eighth inning of an 8-1 loss at St. Louis, missing the Cardinals’ final three outs in what I expect was a steamy summer’s evening on the Busch Stadium astroturf.

That was it. Russell, who racked up 163 hits but only had a .301 on-base percentage in 1973, played in 99.9 percent of the Dodgers’ innings at short that year.

If those are the iron men, let me introduce you to (pause to Google most flexible metals in the world) the graphene men.

This year, the Dodgers are heading for a couple of unprecedented fielding events that underscores the team’s unusual versatility. For the first time in a 162-game season, there might not be a single Dodger to play even 1,000 innings at a single position — remarkable considering that the team will play close to 1,500. And, their leader in innings at one position — also for the first time since at least 1962 — might be a catcher.

Read More

Who’s in the mood for a good laugher?

garvey

By Jon Weisman

The playoffs are so relentlessly tense, I was wondering when the last time Dodger fans could sit back and revel in a postseason romp.

Turns out, there’ve been a ton of pressure-packed innings in a row. Not since October 6, 2013 — 18 Dodger playoff games ago — has Los Angeles won a postseason game by more than three runs — in modern shorthand, a game that didn’t require a save.

But even though the Dodgers tied a franchise record for runs in a playoff contest with a 13-6 victory over Atlanta in Game 3 of the 2013 National League Division Series, that game was a roller coaster, considering the Dodgers trailed 2-0 early and didn’t break it open until scoring three runs in the bottom of the eighth.

Read More

Hitting history for Dodger All-Stars

Andre Ethier is introduced before the 2011 All-Star Game. ()Barry Gossage/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Andre Ethier before the 2011 All-Star Game. (Barry Gossage/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

By Jon Weisman

No Dodger has had a hit in an All-Star Game in five years, and so it’s up to Corey Seager to change that tonight — unless you’re looking for Kenley Jansen to grab a bat and come through.

Yasiel Puig, Dee Gordon, Joc Pederson, Yasmani Grandal and Adrian Gonzalez have combined to go 0 for 8 since Ethier’s pinch-hit, RBI single in fifth inning of the July 12, 2011 All-Star Game. Gordon did come around to score as a pinch-runner in the 2014 contest.

The greatest single All-Star batting performances by a Dodger belong to Duke Snider (two singles, a double and a walk in 1954) and Mike Piazza (double and home run in 1996).

Here are some firsts and lasts among all Dodger All-Star batters since 1933, when Tony Cuccinello became the franchise’s first All-Star hitter — striking out to end the 1933 All-Star Game …

Read More

Emotional first-pitch salute to Vin Scully opens 2016 season at Dodger Stadium

[mlbvideo id=”585753483″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

By Jon Weisman

In a breathtaking experience that traversed Dodger history from Don Newcombe to Clayton Kershaw, Vin Scully received an emotional tribute before the first pitch of his final Opening Day at Dodger Stadium as the team’s broadcaster.

Al Michaels, who was considered by some a possible successor to Scully four decades ago, hosted the tribute that mixed video (including messages from Henry Aaron and Kirk Gibson) with live presentations.

The roll call of Dodgers that took the field went as follows: Newcombe, Maury Wills, Sandy Koufax, Al Downing, Rick Monday, Ron Cey, Steve Garvey, Bill Russell, Fernando Valenzuela, Orel Hershiser, Tommy Lasorda and Kershaw, with Magic Johnson and Peter O’Malley then escorting Scully on to the hallowed stadium grass, before an enormous standing ovation from the crowd.

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Top series by Jon SooHoo, bottom by Juan Ocampo

A baseball autographed by every participant was then passed down the line to Scully, who truly looked moved by the moment and said afterward he was “overwhelmed.”

Watching him from ground level, as the scoreboard camera circled around him for its closeup, I never felt more how much of a living legend we were privileged to know, and to call our own.

 

Old-Timers Game: The 1970s infield reunited

The Infield

By Jon Weisman

Cey. Russell. Lopes. Garvey.

Not since the final game of the 1981 World Series has the legendary infield been in the same lineup together. That changes at Saturday’s Old-Timers Game at Dodger Stadium, when Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell and Ron Cey reunite on the Orel Hershiser-managed home team.

There’s going to be a great turnout for the Old-Timers festivities, which begin at 4 p.m. with introductions honoring the 50th anniversary of the 1965 World Series championship team and the 60th anniversary of the 1955 World Series titlists. Among those scheduled for salutes are Sandy Koufax, Tommy Lasorda, Don Newcombe, Tommy Davis, “Sweet” Lou Johnson, Al Ferrara, Wes Parker, Ron Fairly, Wally Moon, Roger Craig, Ron Perranoski, Ed Roebuck, Jeff Torborg and Dick Traceweski, along with Manny Mota and Charlie Hough.

Though there could be some trades before gametime, here are the current rosters for the two teams playing in the game itself, which also welcomes back MLB Ambassador of Inclusion and onetime Dodger Billy Bean:

LAD 2015 1965 World Series Replica Ring (side)Team Orel
Infielders/catchers: Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, Ron Cey, Steve Sax, Steve Yeager
Outfielders: Pedro Guerrero, Mickey Hatcher, Jerry Hairston, Mike Marshall, Billy Bean
Pitchers: Orel Hershiser, Darren Dreifort, Chan Ho Park

Team Nomar
Infielders/catchers: Maury Wills, Eric Karros, Nomar Garciaparra, Tim Wallach, Derrel Thomas, Todd Zeile
Outfielders: Shawn Green, Ken Landreaux, Rick Monday, Steve Finley
Pitchers: Fernando Valenzuela, Tommy John, Rick Honeycutt

After the Old-Timers Game, the Dodgers play the Rockies at 6:10 p.m. (with a 1965 World Series replica ring being given to the first 40,000 fans in attendance.) Don’t miss this great day of baseball.

Matt Kemp’s Opening Day visit to Dodger Stadium is unprecedented

Matt Kemp first faced the Dodgers in a March 12 exhibition game. A week from today, it counts.

Matt Kemp first faced the Dodgers in a March 12 exhibition game. A week from today, it counts. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

For photos from Sunday, visit LA Photog Blog.

Dodgers at Diamondbacks, 1:10 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Carl Crawford, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
Joc Pederson, CF
A.J. Ellis, C
Brett Anderson, P

By Jon Weisman

If you’re like Vin Scully, and you think it’s going to be weird to see Matt Kemp suit up for the Padres against the Dodgers on Opening Day in his first official career game for another team, you’re right.

Nothing like it has ever happened.

In the history of Dodger Stadium Opening Days, no other former Dodger — let alone one of Kemp’s current magnitude — has made his debut for an opponent before Scully and friends.

There have been a few former Dodgers to play for the opposition at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day, most recently Dave Roberts for the Giants in 2008 and Ismael Valdez for the Padres in 2004, but not very many, and they were always years removed from their last appearance in Dodger blue. (If you want to include road openers, former Dodger knuckleballer Charlie Hough pitched the Marlins’ first MLB game ever, against the Dodgers in 1993.)

Steve Garvey — the biggest name to go directly from Los Angeles to San Diego before Kemp — was at first base for the Padres at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day 1986, but Garvey was already in his fourth season with San Diego.

WelcomeThe highest-profile Dodger ever to play his next game for an opponent on Opening Day at Dodger Stadium was Reggie Smith, who started at first base for the Giants on April 6, 1982 — Los Angeles’ first official game since winning the World Series. Even this couldn’t be considered a big a deal as Kemp. Though revered by this author, Smith was not a career Dodger, and he had already ceased to be an integral part of the team by 1981, collecting seven hits and seven walks the entire year.

To find a Dodger regular who played an Opening Day for an opponent in Los Angeles the very next year, you have to go all the way back to a different venue and the very first Game No. 1 played in Los Angeles: April 12, 1960. (The Dodgers opened on the road for their first two seasons after moving from Brooklyn.) That player was Don Zimmer, who had been pushed to the bench by shortstop Maury Wills midway through the 1959 season.

That’s not to say there wasn’t some shock for local fans: Zimmer was traded to the Cubs on April 8, only four days before the start of the season, which found him at third base for Chicago at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Still, Don Zimmer playing for the Cubs at a Dodger home opener is nothing compared with what it’s going to be like to see Matt Kemp playing right field for the Padres a week from today. Surreal is a word that comes to mind. As Scully put it, the idea of Clayton Kershaw facing Kemp with the game on the line is, for now at least, mind-blowing.

That being said, time marches on, and so eventually will our sensibilities. If we could get used to Garvey in a Padre uniform, anything’s possible. (Well, almost anything.)

Clayton Kershaw nominated for second Roberto Clemente Award

[mlbvideo id=”25461323″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

By Jon Weisman

Clayton Kershaw, winner of the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award, is the Dodgers’ nominee for the honor in 2014.

The award recognizes the MLB player “who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.”

“When you think about the Roberto Clemente award, you think about the man first and to be associated with him is an amazing thing,” Kershaw said. “To be nominated again for such an award and to be mentioned in the same breath as Roberto Clemente is very special and something I don’t take for granted. I’m truly humbled and honored to be nominated again.”

Fans may participate in the voting Wednesday through October 6 at ChevyBaseball.com. The fan vote winner will count as one vote alongside a voting body that includes Clemente’s widow Vera, Dodger broadcaster Jaime Jarrin, outgoing MLB commissioner Bud Selig and commissioner-elect Rob Manfred.

Steve Garvey is the only other Dodger to win the Clemente Award, in 1981. Adrian Gonzalez was the Dodgers’ 2013 nominee.

In the 43-year history of the award, established in 1971 and renamed for Clemente after his death on New Year’s Eve 1972, there have been no repeat winners.

“Clayton is one of the most dedicated and hardest working athletes on and off the field I’ve been associated with,” said Dodger president and CEO Stan Kasten. “If anyone is deserving of the Clemente Award a second time, Clayton is certainly the one.”

Who played first when Garvey didn’t?

garvey_anthem

Dodgers at Reds, 4:10 p.m.
Chone Figgins, 2B
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Yasiel Puig, RF
Matt Kemp, LF
Scott Van Slyke, CF
Justin Turner, 3B
Jamie Romak, 1B
Tim Federowicz, C
Dan Haren, P

By Jon Weisman
Jamie Romak gets a surprising start at first base today at Cincinnati, as the Dodgers rest slumping Adrian Gonzalez, while keeping Scott Van Slyke in center field ahead of Andre Ethier.

Gonzalez has been such a mainstay at first base since coming over from Boston, and Van Slyke such a logical understudy, that you just don’t expect to see someone like Romak there. It got me wondering about other rare cameos at first base for the Dodgers — in particular, when Steve Garvey was around.

Garvey played nearly every game at first base for the Dodgers from 1974-82, but not every inning. Here’s who backed him up.

  • 1974: Bill Buckner went 7 for 21 in six games at first base, while Gail Hopkins went 0 for 4 in two games and Tom Paciorek added two innings.
  • 1975: Ken McMullen went 4 for 10 with a triple in three games, including starts on September 1 and 2.
  • 1976: Garvey played all but six innings this year. On May 7, he was hit by a pitch in the eighth inning, and John Hale pinch-ran. Buckner moved over from left field to play first, and grounded out in the top of the ninth. Ed Goodson also played four defensive innings across three games.
  • 1977: Four different subsitutes — Boog Powell (2 for 5 with a walk in four games), Ed Goodson (1 for 8 with a walk in five games), Rick Monday (0 for 5 in five games) and Joe Simpson (0 for 1). Goodson started on May 28, Powell on August 15.
  • 1978: Garvey started alll 162 games, but it was a nice year for the backups. Pedro Guerrero went 4 for 7 with a triple in three games, Monday 1 for 3 and Vic Davalillo 1 for 1.
  • 1979: Guerrero went 3 for 14 in eight games and became the first first baseman besides Garvey to homer since 1973. It was a late-September game that Garvey departed after two innings. Derrel Thomas and Gary Thomasson each got an inning at first base; Thomas went 0 for 1 at the plate.
  • 1980: Guerrero sizzled at first base, going 3 for 4, while Thomasson struck out in his only at-bat as a first baseman. The 43-year-old Davalillo also picked up an inning in the last defensive appearance of his career.
  • 1981: The Dodgers’ title year saw Mike Marshall, Jay Johnstone and Reggie Smith each go 1 for 4 at first base, while Guerrero went 0 for 1.
  • 1982: In the final season before Garvey departed for San Diego, Marshall got the most playing time of anyone else at the position since 1973, going 8 for 28 with two homers and five walks. Monday went 2 for 10, and Garvey’s initial successor, Greg Brock, 0 for 4.

Innings by Dodger first basemen, 1974-82
Steve Garvey: 12,346 1/3 out of 12,724 1/3 (97.0 percent)
Mike Marshall: 90
Pedro Guerrero: 66
Bill Buckner: 49
Rick Monday: 44
Ed Goodson: 35
Ken McMullen: 19
Boog Powell: 15
Jay Johnstone: 13
Reggie Smith: 13
Gail Hopkins: 12
Greg Brock: 8 2/3
Vic Davalillo: 5 1/3
Gary Thomasson: 3
Tom Paciorek: 2
Joe Simpson: 2
Derrel Thomas: 1

* * *

Some trivia from Sunday’s game:

Video: ‘Dodgers Roadshow’ highlights rare goodies

Dodgers Roadshow

By Jon Weisman

The centerpiece of the May issue of Dodger Insider magazine is our Dodgers Roadshow (excerpted above, click to enlarge). Team historian Mark Langill discussed the history behind 20 pieces of Dodger memorabilia, few if any of which you’ve ever seen before.

In the videos that follow, Langill devotes even more time to these strange and wonderful artifacts. Enjoy!

[mlbvideo id=”33008893″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

[mlbvideo id=”33008913″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

Flash Gordon chases Flash Garvey

LOS ANGELES DODGERS AT ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKSSB leadersBy Jon Weisman

The Dodgers all-time stolen base leaders in Los Angeles are a funny mix. Once you get past the truly great thieves, like Maury Wills and Davey Lopes, you encounter a combination that includes short-term speedsters and team legends known more for their longevity than their legs.

Brett Butler, for example, is No. 5 on the list despite not becoming a Dodger until he was 33 years old. He’s one spot ahead of Bill Russell, whose Dodger career ran from ages 20 to 37.

Dee Gordon, who moved into 20th place with his four steals Sunday, is now only two steals behind Steve Garvey. Gordon has played 192 games as a Dodger; Garvey played 1,727.

With only 45 more steals sometime in his Dodger career, in 2014 or beyond (he has nine this year in 13 games), Gordon will zoom all the way up to the 10 spot.

For added fun, we’ll present the all-time caught stealing leaders in Los Angeles. You’ll see that players like Garvey and John Roseboro barely broke even, and Mike Marshall was underwater. Then there are some whose lack of effectiveness on the basepaths might surprise you, such as Willie Crawford and Cesar Izturis.

Neither Kirk Gibson nor Eric Davis make this second list. In their Dodger careers, the pair combined for 121 steals and were caught only 15 times.

Read More

In case you missed it: Stick and move

By Jon Weisman
The first full-squad Dodgers workout at Camelback Ranch is three weeks from today. Three weeks.

  • Using a point system for its top 100 prospects where teams received 100 points for the No. 1 spot and 1 point for being No. 100, the Dodgers ranked seventh in the majors by MLB.com and first in the National League West. Individually, Corey Seager was 34th, Joc Pederson 36th, Zach Lee 63rd and Julio Urias 64th. Considering the promising Urias might be underrated on this chart (and that Alexander Guerrero was ineligible for consideration), this is a strong showing. More details here from Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
  • As Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. points out, MLB.com (Seager), Baseball America (Pederson) and Baseball Prospectus (Urias) have each put different players atop the Dodger prospect list.
  • Dustin Nosler takes his Dodger prospect rundown to Nos. 31-40 at Dodgers Digest.
  • Oh, hey — occasionally, major-league talent gets ranked as well. USA Today looks at starting pitchers, with Clayton Kershaw first and Zack Greinke 13th. Madison Bumgarner was the only NL West pitcher above Greinke.
  • Another Cuban contender for the majors is 28-year-old catcher Yenier Bello. Jesse Sanchez at the Park has details (via J.P Hoornstra of the Daily News).
  • Coming up from Orange County for Saturday’s NHL Stadium Series game at Dodger Stadium? Emma Amaya has public transportation details at Dodger Blue World.
  • Steve Garvey will have his Michigan State Spartan jersey retired at a ceremony in East Lansing on Sunday.
  • Willie Crawford gets a career retrospective from Bruce Marksen at the Hardball Times. An excerpt:

    … In 1964, the 17-year-old Crawford drew the interest of every one of the 20 major league teams in existence. With his combination of five-tool talents, clubs like the Dodgers, Yankees, and Kansas City A’s envisioned him as the centerpiece to their outfield futures.

    Dodgers executive Al Campanis simply raved about Crawford’s ability. He filed a scouting report with his superiors that indicated Crawford “hits with the power of Roberto Clemente and Tommy Davis at a similar age.” A’s owner Charlie Finley offered an even higher opinion of Crawford, calling the teenaged flychaser “a Willie Mays with the speed of Willie Davis.” In the context of early 1960s baseball, it was hard to get much better than a combination of Clemente, Mays, and the two Davises.

    Finley liked Crawford so much that he gave the youngster a large, framed, signed portrait of himself, which eventually hung in the Crawford living room. Even more pertinently, Finley offered Crawford a bonus of $200,000 to play center field for his A’s; it was a staggering amount of money in the mid-1960s scheme of things. Crawford seemed genuinely intrigued by the advances of Finley, referring to him as “one of the nicest millionaires I know.”

    Crawford gave serious consideration to Finley’s offer. At the same time, he also received warm overtures from the Dodgers, who sent a young scout named Tommy Lasorda to Crawford’s home. Only two days after he graduated from Fremont, Lasorda reached an agreement with Crawford. The youngster signed a contract giving him a bonus of $100,000. While it was only half of Finley’s offer, it was the largest bonus ever secured by an African-American player, exceeding the previous amounts given to Richie Allen and Tommie Agee.

    So why did Crawford take the lesser sum of money? As a native and resident of the Watts section of Los Angeles, Crawford simply did not feel comfortable moving far away from the California coast. He also found himself swayed by Lasorda, a Dodgers scout at the time and a man who had taken the time to attend the funeral of Crawford’s grandfather. …

  • I’ve addressed this issue before, but Brad Johnson at the Hardball Times revisits the implicit reasons why teams agree to player opt-outs.
  • I mentioned “The Battered Bastards of Baseball” the other day, but here’s more on the project: Jeff Labrecque of EW.com interviews Todd Field, the director of “Little Children” who was a 13-year-old batboy for the subjects of the documentary, the Portland Mavericks. And also comes the news from Justin Kroll of Variety that the doc will be adapted into a feature film, with Field writing and directing.

In case you missed it: Gary Burghoff strikes out Steve Garvey

BurghoffBy Jon Weisman

Radar don’t need no radar gun …

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén