Garvey recounts playing days with fans
Former first baseman fields questions during online chat
Steve Garvey, a 10-time All-Star who played 13 seasons in Los Angeles, participated in a live chat Tuesday. He talked about this year's Dodgers team, his career accomplishments and who influenced him the most in his baseball career.
1baddesire: Hello Steve. What comes to mind when you think back on your debut with the Dodgers?
Steve Garvey: I think back to Sept. 2, 1968. It was a Sunday, putting on a uniform for the first time and we were facing the Mets. I remember facing a pitcher named Jack DeLura. Even though I struck out, I hit two long foul balls down the line. The bat flew out of my hands and into left field. I got back to the dugout and Walter Alston said, "At least you set a stadium record for the bat throw." He told me I'd get 2,000 hits and I wound up with 2,600, so it was pretty close.
mark_schultz_2: Who did you hit your first and last home run against?
Garvey: Wow. That's a good question. My first home run was against the Padres and my last was against Cincinnati. It's been a while and I don't remember who it was, but it was a left-handed, tall pitcher for the Padres and I think it was a rookie for the Reds.
Brook_Jordan: Do you keep in touch with Ron Cey, Bill Russell and Davey Lopes and Steve Yeager?
Garvey: I do. We see each other periodically. I see Ron more than the other fellas because we both work for the Dodgers, but I've seen Steve twice in the last month. Our infield does several things together in the offseason like autograph signings. I see Billy at the stadium because he's an umpire evaluator. So yes, we still keep in touch.
Kiki_Peraza: Growing up a Dodgers fan all my life, Steve, you were my idol. I wore No. 6 and played first base from Little League through high school. What are you doing now and what do you think of this year's Dodgers team?
Garvey: First of all, I'm honored that you wore the same number I did. Secondly, I have Garvey Media Group, which is a media and brand consulting company. I also do a number of motivational speeches each year. As far as the Dodgers are concerned, I think we need to get Jeff Kent back in the lineup and we need a steady consistent lineup through the end of the season. We need to avoid injuries. We've underachieved in the first half of the season and we need to start realizing our potential.
krickeys: Who was the toughest pitcher you ever faced?
Garvey: I faced probably 12 or 14 Hall of Famers in my career and I still think Phil Niekro was the toughest because he threw probably the best knuckleball. He didn't know where it was going, the catcher didn't know where it was going and I was supposed to hit it. That's pretty difficult.
Base_Ball_4: What do you think of Kenny Lofton wearing your No. 6? I think it should be retired.
Garvey: The Dodger policy is that your number is retired if you're inducted into the Hall of Fame. For 20 years, the number was held in limbo, waiting for that, but as long as he plays well and upholds the dignity of the number, I'm OK with it. The number is much faster now that he's wearing it.
fatmime: Steve, Thank you for some wonderful memories. The 70's were a sweet decade in LA. Are you involved in coaching at any level?
Garvey: Because I travel extensively, I can't actually coach youth teams, but I enjoy working with my children's baseball, softball and soccer teams and teaching them sportsmanship and fundamentals.
Brook_Jordan: What do you do to keep in shape these days? What was your most memorable World Series? I saw the first game in Dodger Stadium of the 1978 World Series. Lopes hit two dingers. Was Reggie Jackson very talkative when you and he were on first base?
Garvey: I work out about five days a week, usually 40-45 minutes of aerobics five days a week. About 8-10 Nautilus stations every other day. I try to keep my height up, too! My most memorable World Series had to be 1981. Anytime you win a world championship, it culminates the boyhood dream of being a champion. Reggie was actually talkative. We've always been friends and had very good conversations, both on and off the field, except when he stuck out his hip and deflected the ball in the World Series.
Base_Ball_2: Mr. Garvey, it's a pleasure. I just wanted to get your overall feelings on the lack of a Hall of Fame nomination? If they want numbers, they're all there!
Garvey: I feel that my career is a body of work. It's not just numbers, it's Gold Gloves, consecutive games streak, MVP awards in the playoffs, league and All-Star Games. When you look at all that, I think my career's a little deceiving sometimes and I think legitimately, I could be selected to the Hall of Fame.
Base_Ball_4: Steve, are you forearms still huge, like Popeye's?
Garvey: Everybody used to think I ate spinach, but actually I got the huge forearms from squeezing the can!
krickeys: Who was your funniest teammate?
Garvey: I think there are a few guys. Jay Johnstone, Jerry Reuss, Mickey Hatcher obviously. Those three guys, I'd say.
letzgostem: How closely do you follow the game today and are there any young players that remind you of yourself?
Garvey: I do follow the game closely and I think there are a number of guys that are good young players. Obviously I'm impressed with Derek Jeter. I think Mark Loretta is probably a good heady young ballplayer. Again, there's probably a dozen good young players that could carry the torch for how the game should be played.
John_B: Who was the best player that you played with?
Garvey: Let's see. That's a good question. I think probably Tony Gwynn, as an all-around baseball player.
fatmime: I know there have been many changes in baseball, since the 70's to today. What has been the best and worst change you've seen?
Garvey: I don't know about worst. I think the innovation of the new ballparks and adding the old feel with the new infrastructure gives baseball character, as opposed to the multi-purpose stadium that were pretty boring, pretty staid. The new ballparks enhance the game and give each new city and ballpark added character.
Candice_Powers: Who helped you in your baseball career the most?
Garvey: I think obviously my father was a tremendous influence growing up. He gave me a good sense of right and wrong and how to play the game fairly and aggressively. Each of my managers taught me something. Lasorda and Alston were my biggest influences in the Major Leagues.
Base_Ball_4: What do you think of today's player's salaries?
Garvey: God Bless America. This is a country of supply and demand. If you work hard and develop your skills and somebody's willing to pay, then you deserve it. It's the entertainment business. That's what we have to remember. If any actor can make $20 million for six weeks, the baseball player can earn that much in nine months.
krickeys: What do you miss most about playing?
Garvey: I miss the camaraderie of my teammates and the interaction with fans.
goorange: Hey Steve, who was your favorite pitcher to play behind?
Garvey: Anybody who worked quickly because the quicker the pitcher works, the more his defensive players are on their toes. It just makes for a better defensive game.
dodgerblue1005: What is your funniest story about Tommy Lasorda?
Garvey: I did one thing to him and that was the last day of a homestand, I told Nobe Kawano, the clubhouse manager, to do me a favor. We went on the road, came back and the first home game, I walked into his office and Tommy's putting on his jersey and I peeked on the back and smiled. Guys were kind of chuckling behind him and he was asking what everyone was laughing about. He goes back into the dugout bathroom and looks in the mirror and I had Nobe put "Lasagna" on his back and of course, Tommy starts pretending to be angry. Nobody knew but Nobe and I. He said "Garv, who did this?" I said, "Geez, Tom, I don't know." He never expected me because I never did any pranks. That was a riot. It went along with his propensity to eat and we all got a good laugh out of it.
drphan: How are your kids doing?
Garvey: My family is doing very, very well. Our four older daughters are out of college and working. We have three at home, Ryan, 13, Olivia, 12 and Shawn, 7. So that keeps us extremely busy. I just happen to have a few boys in the sorority house (we have two boys and five girls).
bammer102561: Who are your picks for the playoffs and World Series this year?
Garvey: I think the Mets, the Cardinals and can't pick 'em in the West at this time. Any time you can put together a streak in August. In the American League, I seem to think that the Yankees will battle back. In the Central, boy, Detroit's pulling away and in the West, I've got to like the Angels, somehow, someway.
Base_Ball_3: Hi Steve, can you reflect on witnessing Hank Aaron's 715th home run, Pete Rose breaking Ty Cobb's hit record, and your performance in Game 4 of the 1984 National League Championship Series.
Garvey: I was honored to be on the field for those two great accomplishments. Then, to be able to hit the walk-off home run that's been considered the greatest sports moment in San Diego history. Plus, I think Nolan Ryan's sixth no-hitter and Reggie's three home runs in the World Series. And of course, the last out of the sixth game of the World Series. Those are all some great moments. It's been an honor to be involved in baseball both as a player and off the field.
Garvey: Thank you all for taking part in this chat. I really enjoyed it and I can't thank you enough for always being the 10th player. Keep coming out to support the Dodgers during the final 62 games and I'll hopefully see you on Friday at the bobblehead night at Dodger Stadium.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.