The first week of September brings many anniversaries for longtime Dodger “Iron Man” Steve Garvey, who made his Major League debut 40 years ago this week against the New York Mets.
Garvey began his career as a third baseman from Michigan State University, and he was the team’s Opening Day third baseman in 1970. But his troubles throwing to first base during the next three seasons eventualy left him in limbo on defense and relagated to pinch-hitting duties. The Dodgers nearly traded Garvey to the Phillies prior to the 1973 season in exchange for Willie Montanez, but Philadelphia reportedly turned down the deal. Garvey’s career fortunes changed early in 1973 when outfielder Von Joshua was injured, prompting manager Walter Alston to move Bill Buckner from first base to left field. That left an opening for Garvey to try the position.
Garvey joined the infield of Davey Lopes, Bill Russell and Ron Cey on June 23, 1973 and the group spent a record 8 1/2 seasons together. But Garvey’s National League record streak of 1,207 consecutive games did not begin until Sept. 3, 1975 after he missed two games with the flu. Garvey had played in 156 of the team’s 162 games during his N.L. MVP season in 1974.
— Mark Langill
And here’s tonight’s lineup: