The Los Angeles Dodgers announced Don Newcombe, Steve Garvey and Fernando Valenzuela will make up the inaugural class of “Legends of Dodger Baseball,” and will have their careers celebrated during induction ceremonies next season. They will be recognized Sunday before the final home game of the regular season.
Beginning in 2019, the Dodgers will induct franchise greats into the “Legends of Dodger Baseball” in recognition of their impact on and off the field. Inductees will receive a plaque honoring their achievements with the Dodgers, which will also be on permanent display at Dodger Stadium.
The new program solves a dilemma of sorts for the Dodgers when it comes to retiring jersey numbers. With the exception of Jim Gilliam (No. 19), the Dodgers have only done so for Hall of Famers. Hall-of-Fame broadcasters Vin Scully and Jaime Jarrín represent the only non-players to have received similar recognition and be inducted into the Dodger Stadium Ring of Honor.
“We’re excited to launch the ‘Legends of Dodger Baseball,’ and there couldn’t be more perfect franchise representatives to make up our inaugural class than Don, Steve and Fernando,” Dodgers owner Mark Walter said.
“This group epitomizes what it means to be a Dodger, not only with their incredible careers on the field but also through their dedicated service to the Los Angeles community.”
Newcombe spent eight of his 10 MLB seasons with the Dodgers, from 1949-51 and 1954-58. He missed the 1952 and 1953 seasons while serving in the Korean War. Newcombe was part of the Dodgers’ first World Series team in 1955, a four-time All-Star, 1949 Rookie of the Year, and winner of the Cy Young and MVP Awards in 1956.
He and Justin Verlander are the only two pitchers in MLB history to win the Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Awards.
Newcombe joined Brooklyn in 1949 and went on to finish 123-66 with 3.51 ERA in 258 games (230 starts) for the Dodgers. “I’m so honored to be part of this first group of Legends, and want to thank the Dodgers for this great honor,” he said. “I’ve been with the franchise for 61 years, in both Brooklyn and Los Angeles, and I still feel so fortunate to call myself a Dodger.”
Garvey played 14 of 19 seasons with the Dodgers. From 1969-82, he was a member of four National League pennant-winning teams and the 1981 World Series club. Garvey ranks among the all-time Los Angeles leaders in hits (1,968; second), doubles (333; first), home runs (211; third), RBI (992; first) and games played (1,727; third).
He was named MVP of the 1978 NL Championship Series and received recognition for his work in the community as the 1981 winner of the Roberto Clemente Award.
“From being a bat boy in 1956 for the Brooklyn Dodgers to the draft of 1968 and the success we enjoyed over a 14-year career in Dodger Blue, I feel so fortunate to continue to be affiliated with this great franchise,” Garvey said.
“There have been so many great players to wear the Dodger uniform, and I’m grateful for this extraordinary honor. I’m most thankful to my family, Dodger owners Peter O’Malley and Guggenheim Partners, manager Tommy Lasorda and all the players I played with and against. Thank you to the Dodgers for this recognition, and to the fans for making my time in Los Angeles so special.”
Valenzuela sparked a phenomenon en route to playing out a career that included a Rookie of the Year Award, Cy Young, six All-Star Game selections, two Silver Slugger Awards and a pair of World Series championships, among other accomplishments.
“The Dodgers have meant so much to me during my 11 years on the field, and now 16 in the broadcast booth, and I’m honored to be among the first Dodger Legends,” Valenzuela said. “Thank you to the Dodger organization for this great recognition, and to the fans for their years of support.”