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Dodgers alumni gather for game, Garvey honor

@SarahWexler32
June 1, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- The stars were out Saturday at Dodger Stadium for the team’s annual Alumni Game. Thirty-one former Dodgers players, whose collective careers span seven decades, were on hand for the two-inning scrimmage held prior to that night’s game against the Phillies. The squads were helmed by captains Jerry

LOS ANGELES -- The stars were out Saturday at Dodger Stadium for the team’s annual Alumni Game.

Thirty-one former Dodgers players, whose collective careers span seven decades, were on hand for the two-inning scrimmage held prior to that night’s game against the Phillies. The squads were helmed by captains Jerry Hairston Jr. and Nomar Garciaparra, both of whom currently work as broadcasters for the Dodgers.

“It is a tremendous privilege to wear this Dodger blue and to be amongst legends,” said Hairston. “Not just Dodger legends, baseball legends. Steve Garvey, Tommy Lasorda, Orel Hershiser. To be on the same field with these guys and these legends is special.”

Kevin Gross started for Team JHair, while color commentator Hershiser, who referred to himself as an “opener,” got the call for Team Nomar. Game participants included fan favorites like Steve Sax, Shawn Green and Mike Marshall. Several others were in attendance and in uniform though not playing: Manny Mota, Rick Monday, Ron Cey, Garvey, Rick Honeycutt, Bill Russell, Fernando Valenzuela, Tommy Davis, Maury Wills and Lasorda.

Manager Dave Roberts, the starting left fielder for Team Nomar, kept the bar low for himself.

“I’m content with being a fan, but I guess they want me out there,” said Roberts with a smile. “They need a warm body out there, so I’m going to be a warm body. Not expecting much for myself. Very positive.”

Despite his trepidation, Roberts made a nice play in the outfield and produced some solid contact in lining into a double play, speared by Team JHair first baseman James Loney.

Loney did it all en route to an 8-1 Team JHair victory. He picked up a pair of hits and even pitched to a few batters. His second-inning grand slam was, perhaps, not quite as memorable as the one he hit in Game 1 of the 2008 National League Division Series against the Cubs, but it gave the recent retiree the chance to show he still has a bit left in the tank.

Garvey honored

Following the Alumni Game, Garvey, who got his own promotional bobblehead Saturday, became the second player to be inducted into the Legends of Dodger Baseball. The late Don Newcombe was recognized with his own ceremony and bobblehead night on April 27. Valenzuela will be inducted on July 20.

The ceremony, which was attended by Garvey and his family, featured a prerecorded message from Vin Scully, introductions from radio play-by-play man Charley Steiner and comedian Jimmy Kimmel, and a plaque unveiling by Cey and Russell, Garvey's longtime infield mates.

In his acceptance speech, Garvey thanked God, the fans, the Guggenheim Partner group and the O'Malley family for their roles in supporting him throughout his career.

"Like I've always said, we're in the memory business," said Garvey. "The opportunity to play for you and my fellow teammates through the years, create magical memories, which I think is the most important currency in our lives -- you can't take it away, you can't give it away. You can always enjoy it, and always revel in the moments we had together."

After the ceremony, Garvey's children threw ceremonial first pitches.

Garvey's status as a Legend of Dodger Baseball is well earned, both for his success on the field and his popularity with fans. After getting his start as a Spring Training bat boy for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Garvey, drafted by Los Angeles in 1968, played 14 of his 19 Major League seasons with the Dodgers, including his 1974 National League MVP campaign and the 1981 World Series campaign. Eight of his 10 career All-Star appearances came in a Dodgers uniform. He also won the Gold Glove for four consecutive seasons, from 1974-77. His career line as a Dodger was .301/.337/.459, and his 211 home runs are third-most among Dodgers first basemen, behind Gil Hodges and Eric Karros.

As skilled as Garvey was, his durability especially made him a noteworthy ballplayer. No one in Los Angeles Dodgers history played more games at first base than Garvey. For seven consecutive seasons, from 1976-82, Garvey played in every single game. That was part of a streak of 1,207 straight games played, which began in September 1975 and extended through July 1983, when he was with the Padres.

Sarah Wexler is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter @SarahWexler32.