Steve Garvey is an important player in the history of the San Diego Padres.
Friars on Base was recently asked on Twitter whether the legendary Steve Garvey should be remembered for wearing Dodger Blue or Padre Brown. As a blog that focuses on the San Diego Padres, it’s a little difficult to answer that question, but let’s look back at his career.
Garvey was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first round, 13th overall, of the secondary phase of the 1968 amateur draft out of Michigan State University. He made his big league debut with the Dodgers in 1969, getting into just three games, but he steadily got into more games each year between 1970 and 1973.
There’s no doubt that Garvey’s best days were in Los Angeles, as he broke through in 1974, winning the NL MVP award and making the All-Star team. It was the first of eight straight seasons in which he made the All-Star team and placed in MVP voting.
Garvey’s totals in 14 years with the Dodgers: a .301 batting average, a .796 OPS, 1,968 hits, 211 home runs, and 992 RBIs, with five years of at least 20 home runs and 100 RBIs. He also was the MVP of the 1978 NLCS and won a ring with the Dodgers in 1981.
Prior to the 1983 season, Garvey became a free agent and signed a five year, $6.6 million deal with the Padres. He wasn’t as great of a hitter in San Diego as he was in Los Angeles, but he still made two All-Star teams (1984 & 1985) and batted .275 from 1983 to 1987.
And of course, there was the 1984 NLCS, where in Game 4 Garvey went 4-for-5 with five RBIs, including the walkoff home run off Lee Smith of the Chicago Cubs to force the decisive Game 5 as the Padres won their first NL pennant and advanced to the World Series.
If we look at this as in an unbiased manner, we should say that Garvey should be remembered more for being a Dodger. However, we at Friars on Base can still appreciate what he did in a Padres uniform in five years. And when we consider that he was on one of the greatest Padres teams of all-time, that makes him that much more important in team history.
What do you think? Should Garvey be remembered for being a Dodger or a Padre? Or can we just celebrate both? Let us know!