Steve Garvey’s third trip back to Spokane since playing for the fabled 1970 Indians was more stressful than the other two.
“I’m much more nervous watching the game than playing,” Garvey said.
Garvey’s anxiousness came from watching his oldest son, Ryan, play outfield for the Tri-City Dust Devils. Garvey attended Wednesday’s game at Avista Stadium and threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Garvey, the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1974 for the Los Angeles Dodgers, sharpened his skills with the 1970 Indians. That group was called the best minor league baseball team in the second half of the 20th Century by Baseball America in 1993.
Garvey was a third baseman for the Indians but became the Dodgers’ regular first baseman in 1973. Garvey said he “seized the moment” by telling manager Walter Alston that he had played first base before, never admitting that he meant in Little League.
The long-term results were spectacular: four Gold Gloves, 10 All-Star Game appearances, two N.L. Championship Series MVP awards and an N.L.-record 1,207 games played. Garvey hit .294 for his career with the Dodgers and San Diego Padres, with 272 homers and 1,308 runs batted in.
But Garvey said his top memory was when the Dodgers defeated the New York Yankees in the 1981 World Series.
“It’s a team game,” said Garvey, who lives in California with his wife of 25 years, Candace, and is president of Garvey Media Group. Their other children are Olivia and Sean, who plays the corner positions in baseball just like his father.