On Jan. 13, 1988, Steve Garvey announced his retirement from MLB after a 19-year career, which included 14 seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Garvey was originally selected by the Dodgers in the first round — 13th overall — of the 1968 MLB Draft from Michigan State University.
Garvey made his debut a year later on Sept. 1, 1969, at the age of 20, against the New York Mets and went hitless in his one at-bat. He only received two more at-bats that season but did pick up his first career hit.
Garvey had his breakout season in 1974 when he won the National League MVP and hit .312/.342/.469 with 21 home runs, 111 RBI, 95 runs scored, a 130 wRC+ and 3.8 WAR.
From 1974-1981, Garvey was among the best players in baseball as he was named to eight All-Star Games, won four Gold Glove Awards and appeared on MVP ballots all eight seasons.
During that stretch he hit .309/.346/.474 with 170 home runs, 794 RBI, a 128 wRC+ and 29.7 WAR.
His time with the Dodgers was capped off by winning the 1981 World Series. After that, he played one more season with the team.
Garvey finished his time in L.A. with 2,599 hits with a .301/.337/.459 batting line, 211 home runs and 992 RBI.
He ranks among the all-time L.A. franchise leaders in hits (1,968; second), doubles (333; first), home runs (211; third), RBI (992; first) and games played (1,727; third).
In 1983, Garvey signed with the San Diego Padres, where he finished out the rest of his career.
As a veteran closing in on the end of his career, Garvey was never as successful with the Padres, but earned two All-Star Game selections and finished 20th in MVP voting during the 1984 season.
With his five years in San Diego, Garvey hit .275/.309/.409 with 61 home runs and 316 RBI.
He retired after the 1987 season as a 10-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove winner, two-time All-Star Game MVP, two-time National League Championship MVP, 1974 NL MVP and 1981 World Series Champion.
Garvey’s career stats across his 19 seasons is .294/.329/.446 with 272 home runs, 1,308 RBI, 1,143 runs scored, 83 stolen bases, a 116 wRC+ and 37.8 WAR. He additionally holds the NL record with 1,207 consecutive games played.
Garvey remains hopeful for Hall of Fame induction
Although Garvey was not elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame through the traditional route, he still has a chance for nomination through the Modern Era Committee.
The Golden Days Era Committee recently inducted Garvey’s idol Gil Hodges into the Hall of Fame, and the Dodgers legend deemed it the “ultimate honor” to join him in Cooperstown.
Garvey was included on the 2017 and 2019 Modern Era Ballot but fell short of receiving the required voted for election.
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