Tuesday, July 21, 2009

1976 Topps #150 - Steve Garvey

  • To say that Steve Garvey had a nice career would be an understatement. His accomplishments include one NL MVP award (1974), ten All Star games (1974-1981, 1984, 1985), two All Star MVP awards, four Gold Glove awards (1974-1977), two National League Championship Series MVP awards (1978, 1984), the Roberto Clemente Award (1981), and the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award (1984). The San Diego Padres also retired his #6. By the way, why wasn't his number retired by the Dodgers?
  • Garvey started in the LA Dodgers' system in 1968. He had a great year for AA Albuquerque in 1969 and he was given a little look-see (3 at bats) by the Dodgers at the end of the 1969 season. Steve started the 1970 season with the Dodgers but was sent back down to AAA Spokane at the end of April after batting only .087. After a couple more months of minor league seasoning he was brought back to the Dodgers in early July and ended up batting .269 in 93 at bats.
  • Steve didn't become a regular until 1973. In 1971 he batted .227 in 81 games, and in 1972 he batted .269 in 96 games. He spent most of his time at 3B during this time. In 1973 Garvey spent most of his time at 1B (76 games) and played 10 games in the outfield. He batted .304 in 114 games. After the 1973 season, Garvey didn't play a single game at a position other than 1B.
  • Garvey burst on the national scene in 1974. He was elected as a started for the NL All Star team as a write-in at first base. He also won his first Gold Glove award and the aforementioned NL MVP award. Steve batted .312 with 21 homers and 111 RBI. It was also the first of six season in which he would have 200 or more hits. Garvey topped off the season by batting .389 in the NLCS and .381 in the World Series.
  • In 1975 Garvey started his famed consecutive game streak that lasted 1207 games (September 3, 1975 to July 29, 1983). Between 1975 and 1982 Steve never batted below .282 and had four seasons of over 20 home runs. It looked like he was headed for the Hall of Fame.
  • After the 1982 season, Garvey became a free agent and signed with the San Diego Padres. He appeared to be headed for another typical Garvey season when he broke his thumb in a home plate collision against the Atlanta Braves on July 29, 1983. He was out for the season. In 1984 Garvey came back to play in 161 games and bat .284 for the NL Champion Padres. He played in all 162 games in 1985 and batted .281 with 17 home runs.
  • Garvey slipped to .255 in 1986 but hit 21 homers (his highest total since 1980). He slipped badly in 1987. He was batting .211 in 27 games when he played his last game on May 23, 1987.
  • Steve had the nickname "Mr. Clean." His clean image irritated some people. He and Don Sutton had a memorable scuffle in the vistor's clubhouse at Shea Stadium in 1978 which damaged Garvey's reputation around the league. Garvey was hit with several paternity suits which further diminshed his reputation. Now Steve is a motivational speaker and does some VIP greeting for the Dodgers.
  • Here is a 2006 LA Times article about Steve's financial problems.
  • Here is a link to several other LA Times articles about Garvey.
  • Here is a link to Steve Garvey's official web site.
  • Here is an article in Hardball Times about whether or not Garvey should be considered for the Hall of Fame.
  • By the way, I just noticed that GCRL sponsors Steve's page on baseballreference.com. Cool!


  1. in my quest for this impossible set, I've seen a lot of cards for sale that I don't have. Fine. I just can't afford them, or have the cash at that moment. But I have never, ever, even seen a picture of the '76 Garvey until now. Someone is hoarding them.

    Probably GCRL....

  2. Great entry and my favorite childhood player. A little disillusioning to hear about all the paternity suits later, but even that seems a little bland given today's more complicated "scandals."

  3. Also a huge Garvey fan. Just think we got these little beauties for just 15 cents a pack.

    I bought my 76 set for 10 bucks from Reneta Glasso and have that set still mint in pages!!

  4. The first complete set I bought was 1979. For the next few years I alternated between buying sets (82, 84) and trying to collect the sets (80, 81, 83). In 1985 I finally broke down and bought sets every year.

  5. I think I have three '76 Garveys, Captain.

    But the one I have to spare isn't in good condition.

    I remember being horrified reading about Garvey's scuffle with Sutton. It was never the same after that.