The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced that Don Newcombe, Steve Garvey and Fernando Valenzuela will make up the inaugural class of the Legends of Dodger Baseball, and will have their careers celebrated during official induction ceremonies next year. Starting in 2019, the team will induct Dodger greats into the Legends of
The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced that Don Newcombe, Steve Garvey and Fernando Valenzuela will make up the inaugural class of the Legends of Dodger Baseball, and will have their careers celebrated during official induction ceremonies next year.
Starting in 2019, the team will induct Dodger greats into the Legends of Dodger Baseball in recognition of their impact on the franchise, both on and off the field. Inductees will receive a plaque honoring their Dodger achievements, which will also be on permanent display at Dodger Stadium. More information on the Legends of Dodger Baseball program will be available at a later date.
"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," said Mark Walter, Dodger Owner and Chairman. "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."
Added Dodger President and CEO Stan Kasten, "The Legends of Dodger Baseball program is the first of many new developments that we plan to roll out as we approach the 2020 All-Star Game, including the creation of a permanent home to celebrate the great players, personnel and moments that have helped make the Dodgers one of the most storied institutions in professional sports."
The Dodgers will recognize Newcombe, Garvey and Valenzuela prior to Sunday's Dodgers-Padres game.
Newcombe played eight of his 10 MLB seasons with the Dodgers from 1949-51 and 1954-58, missing the 1952 and 1953 seasons while serving his country in the Korean War. He was a member of the franchise's first World Championship club in 1955, a four-time All-Star, the 1949 Rookie of the Year and the winner of both the Cy Young and the Most Valuable Player Awards in 1956, joining Justin Verlander as the only two pitchers in MLB history to win the Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Awards. He originally signed with the Newark Eagles of the Negro Leagues in 1944 at the age of 17, and just two years later, along with teammates Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella, Newcombe played a key role in the country's Civil Right movement when he pitched for the Class B Nashua Dodgers of the New England League, breaking the minor league color barrier. Robinson reached the Majors in 1947, Campanella in 1948 and Newcombe was promoted to Brooklyn in 1949, where he compiled a 123-66 record with 3.51 ERA in 258 games (230 starts) with the Dodgers. Newcombe made possibly his greatest impact following his playing career, when he was credited with starting the first Community Relations department in Major League Baseball in 1970 with the Dodgers. He continues to make dozens of appearances throughout the Los Angeles area each year, speaking to youngsters and participating in the Dodgers' Alumni Association.
"I'm so honored to be part of this first group of Legends, and want to thank the Dodgers for this great honor," said Newcombe. "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 his 19 Major League seasons in Los Angeles from 1969-82, serving as a cornerstone of four pennant-winning clubs and helping the Dodgers to the 1981 World Series title. During his time as a Dodger, Garvey was selected to eight consecutive All-Star Games (1974-81), won four Gold Glove Awards at first base and was named the 1974 National League Most Valuable Player. Garvey posted a .301 batting average as a Dodger and ranks among the all-time Los Angeles leaders in hits (1,968, 2nd), doubles (333, 1st), home runs (211, 3rd), RBI (992, 1st) and games played (1,727, 3rd), including appearing in 1,207 consecutive games - the fourth-longest streak in MLB history - between 1975-1983. He was also clutch, batting .312 with runners in scoring position and .414 with the bases loaded between 1969-82, while posting a .346/.370/.571 slashline in 45 postseason games as a Dodger and winning the 1978 NLCS MVP Award. Garvey was also an MVP off the field, and won the 1981 Roberto Clemente Award for his community efforts.
"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," said Garvey. "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 was a member of two World Series championship teams, won the 1981 Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Awards, was selected to six All-Star teams and even won two Silver Slugger Awards (1981, 1983) during his 11 years with the Dodgers from 1980-90. Among the all-time Los Angeles leaders, Valenzuela ranks sixth in wins (141), fifth in strikeouts (1,759), fourth in innings (2348.2), fourth in starts (320), fourth in complete games (107) and fifth in shutouts (29), including the 17th no-hitter in franchise history on June 29, 1990 against the Cardinals. Valenzuela's place in Dodger lore was etched starting with his first MLB start on Opening Day 1981, when he shut out the Astros en route to winning his first eight starts that season, including five shutouts and a streak of 35.0 consecutive scoreless innings. This improbable success sparked "Fernandomania" as fans flocked to see him pitch - home and road - and baffle hitters with his screwball, while his popularity helped the Dodgers reach Latino fans worldwide. Valenzuela retired in 1997 after 17 big league seasons as the all-time leader in wins (173) and strikeouts (2074) among Mexican-born Major Leaguers. Following his playing career, Valenzuela rejoined the Dodger organization as a broadcaster in 2003 and has been an integral part of the team's community initiatives since, including winning a Lifetime Achievement Award from RBI (Reviving Baseball in Innercities) in 2007.
"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," said Valenzuela. "Thank you to the Dodger organization for this great recognition, and to the fans for their years of support."