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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Steve Garvey

Eligible in 1993.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 27, 2006 at 05:23 AM | 72 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 27, 2006 at 05:27 AM (#2269134)
While I have never had the hate that some have for him, he was never one of my favorites as a kid. His forearms were to die for, though. Nobody rivaled him in that department back then.
   2. 1k5v3L Posted: December 27, 2006 at 05:37 AM (#2269137)
Padron my ignorance, but why is/was Garvey so hated by so many people?
   3. Raskolnikov Posted: December 27, 2006 at 05:47 AM (#2269143)
Bill James had a couple of nice passages on Garvey during his Abstract runs. One was particularly poignant. I'm sure someone can post it here for you, Levski.
   4. 1k5v3L Posted: December 27, 2006 at 05:49 AM (#2269147)
Well, that doesn't help much, Raski :)

I'll hope someone posts those passages (or gives me the quick synopsis).
   5. Dan The Mediocre Posted: December 27, 2006 at 06:20 AM (#2269170)
Pardon my ignorance, but why is/was Garvey so hated by so many people?


The crimes of Steve Garvey

Why Cubs fans are required to hate Garvey more than anyone else.
   6. Dan The Mediocre Posted: December 27, 2006 at 06:23 AM (#2269173)
The unit known as Megagarveys, which measures how much a person should be hated, is named after him.

It was invented before Megafonzies, although not by much.
   7. sunnyday2 Posted: December 27, 2006 at 06:27 AM (#2269179)
In fairness, he was probably the best "real" 1B of the '70s. I can't help but think of him and Gil Hodges together. They both played in periods that were a little shy on great 1Bs and they both pale against the 1Bs of the '80s and '90s. But still, they were "the best" in some sense of the word at one time.
   8. JPWF13 Posted: December 27, 2006 at 06:25 PM (#2269404)
Well, that doesn't help much, Raski :)

I'll hope someone posts those passages (or gives me the quick synopsis).


He was Mr. Clean, he was Mr. Family Values, and he was a fraud- I was never a fan- but many of his fans felt betrayed when they found out he wasn't really a good guy. (personally if I'm a fan of a player I couldn't care less about his personal flaws unless they affect his onfield performance)

Plus primates have an instinctive loathing for anyone overrated by traditional metrics (avg-hr-rbi) and by the traditional baseball media.

He was a very good player for many years. He didn't age particularly well but he played in bad hitter's parks during a low offense era. If he had played in Texas/Arizona in the 90s/00s or Brooklyn in the 40s/50s he wouldn't be any better or worse a player but his Avg-Hr-RBI totals would probably lead to his HOF induction.

Main offensive flaw was the same as Al Oliver's- absurdly low walk totals- essentially he HAD to hit .300 to get his OBP up above average- Didn't K alot (more than Oliver though) as a player very similar to Mattingly- just not as good- a little less power, a few less walks, a little lower average- comparable defensively EXCEPT Garvey couldn't throw to save himself- so Mattingly was better there- Garvey had a few more productive seasons...

Won an MVP he didn't deserve- he wasn't the best player on his own team, and it wasn't even his own best season.
   9. sunnyday2 Posted: December 27, 2006 at 06:31 PM (#2269409)
The Garvey thing sounds a lot like the McGwire thing. It wasn't that McG used, it's that he didn't admit it. It's not that Garvey was a jerk, it's that we thought he was a good guy.

Whose fault is it that we thought he was a good guy? I mean, if I'm Steve Garvey (or Mark McGwire) am I really gonna call a press conference and say "I'm a jerk"? I think Garvey just got caught in the time warp where jocks were still being glorified in his day, but then it became fashionable in the press to demonize athletes right about that time as well. So he ended up being portrayed both ways. Same as McG.

Guys who are always known to be jerks somehow get a pass.
   10. zonk Posted: December 27, 2006 at 06:44 PM (#2269423)
Whose fault is it that we thought he was a good guy? I mean, if I'm Steve Garvey (or Mark McGwire) am I really gonna call a press conference and say "I'm a jerk"?

I was very young during the Garvey heyday -- but I believe that Garvey was somewhat outspoken about his 'goodliness'. I do know - that pre-finding-out-who-he-really-was - there was quite a bit of talk about him running for office, and I also believe it was an idea that he encouraged.

Since I'm among the elite of the Steve Garvey haters club, I utterly refuse to spend any time on Lexis to confirm it -- when it comes to Garvey, innuendo and bad recollections are enough for me -- but I do believe that when his career was winding up, running for office was something he talked about... very much as a "family values" type guy.

Perhaps I am mistaken - but I do believe his political aspirations led to him actively asserting his 'good guy'-ness, so I do think it was more than a matter of being miscast by a press that just didn't know any better.
   11. schuey Posted: December 27, 2006 at 07:03 PM (#2269441)
I had a dislike for Garvey for the first half of his career. He was the type of ballplayer whom "The Sports Establishment" like Curt Gowdy just raved about. Polite to writers, bus drivers, fans and very "square looking". He could be polite to other players..Don Baylor says in his book at some press conference of several Dodger and Angel players for a "Freeway Series" exhibition game,Garvey was the sole Dodger who sad "welcome to LA" to Baylor. The other Dodgers (Lopes?Russell?) just ignored the AL leaguer.

I did find myself rooting for Garvey in Game 4 of the 1984 NLCS. One of the most awesome displays of clutch performance in a "win or go home" game you will ever see. Garvey did have poor strike zone judgment and Mike Lupica (speaking of insufferable arrogant peckerheads) used to go ballistic on "how come a bad thrower wins Gold Gloves?". But he was durable, he hit for decent power and drove in runs in pitchers ballparks. The Dodgers in his era were awfully good..competing against The Big Red Machine for most of Garvey's stay. I am pretty sure his September and October numbers are good.
The Padres ended over a decade of "Lousy baseball like a short order cook" once Mr Clean came to town. I think Garvey is worthy. But I wouldn't do any contract work for him without getting the money upfront.
   12. Raskolnikov Posted: December 27, 2006 at 07:39 PM (#2269462)
As time passes, there are more myths about the Garvey phenomenon than the phenomenon itself.

I'm away from my Abstract Collections, but if someone could print a couple of the James essays on Garvey I would appreciate it. They're nothing like what people are saying here, which is going too extreme in either direction.

Basic paraphrase of the James passage IIRC: Garvey represents that person who isn't real. The person who we were all jealous of when we were young, someone who made all the right choices. Someone who was born with all of God's gifts. Someone who we thought had the perfect life.

Garvey seemed "better" than all of us. Yet we didn't like him because he didn't seem human. He didn't make mistakes. He didn't have all those defects of personality and life that we all naturally encounter and which we can identify with. Somehow Garvey seemed perfect and yet not likeable, somehow not real.

And so when he was revealed to be not what he seemed, we were happy to criticize him. He was a fraud, an despicable person. And yet Garvey in a way represents a lesson about life, about how all of us need to make wrong choices and recognize our own defects.

Of course, James writes this much more eloquently.
   13. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: December 27, 2006 at 08:25 PM (#2269486)
Whose fault is it that we thought he was a good guy? I mean, if I'm Steve Garvey (or Mark McGwire) am I really gonna call a press conference and say "I'm a jerk"?

I was very young during the Garvey heyday -- but I believe that Garvey was somewhat outspoken about his 'goodliness'. I do know - that pre-finding-out-who-he-really-was - there was quite a bit of talk about him running for office, and I also believe it was an idea that he encouraged.

Massive understatment. He openly presented himself as a role model. I've read quotes from him to this end. This is a guy so concerned with making himself appear to be a milk'n'cookies family man, that he ran around home plate when Morganna the Kissing Bandit ran on the field to him. Then it came out that he'd fathered a series of illegitimate children. Americans forgive a lot of sinners, but no one finds it so hard to regain lost stature than a person who presents himself as a paragon of virtue when he's in reality a massive hypocrit.

Making it even worse, he's continued to try to present himself as a role model without attempting to atone for his transgressions. He'll still give occassional speeches to that affect, as if his problems never happened without so much as the standard Jim Baker-esque "I Was Wrong" apology tour.

Once on primer, there was a link to an article hinting that he was living beyond his means, and possibly engaging in credit fraud to maintain his desired all-American facade. I forget the details, but he came off looking really scuzzy in his financial dealings. Not just unable to stick to a budget, but screwing some people over along the way.

He also went through an acrimonous and extremely public divorce. His ex-wife later wrote a book. Haven't read it, but from what I know she blasts him as a self-serving phony. This is in many ways the least important of the charges (try to find someone who comes off like a decent human being according to their ex -- good luck with that one) but it does bolster the overall picture.

As for why the primer-hate seems to be so acute, there was once a thread here about least favorite ballplayers. It came out that all fit into one of three categories: 1) Overrated by popular opinion, 2) in a scandal, 3) hurt your favorite team. Someone asked if anyone fit into all 3 categories, and the only answer given: if you're a Cubs fan, Steve Garvey. Thus we Cubs fans have the responsibility -nay, the sacred duty - to hate him more than anyone else hates any other player. Which is awful cool because many of us felt that way in the first place. Feeling free to get absurdly and intentionally over-the-top venom, I came up with a joke that a slew of people here who aren't even Cubs fans said they really liked:

The 3 worst things a person can be are:
- a child molester
- a Nazi war criminal
- Steve Garvey
The former first baseman is, as far as I know, the only person to fit into all three categories.

Now it's almost impossible to mention his name on primer without having a couple people refer to him as the child molesting Nazi war criminal. This is, at a fundamental level, rather asinine, but I like because it's so over the top it's hard to take seriously. (He wasn't even born in WWII, he can't be a Treblinka guard). We all have our least favorite ballplayer -- may as well have some fun with it.

Also, the blowback aganist Garvey really is a widespread affair. Few players have had the decline in HoF voter support that Garvey has. He spent several years in the top 10, and almost everyone who's ever done that has since made it in (Gil Hodges is the only pre-Maris such player not in), and his support has gone so low that i find it wildly unlikely he'll ever get in.

He is, IMHO, an underrated player in stats circles. He played literally every day, had a good glove (despite his inabiliy to throw), a heckvua bat, and was one of the best post-season performers of his generation.

He's a HoVG player, not a HoM or HoF, though.
   14. zonk Posted: December 27, 2006 at 08:40 PM (#2269488)
Massive understatment. He openly presented himself as a role model. I've read quotes from him to this end.

That's what I thought... I read a number of biographies and such from his contemporaries - and several referred to him (winking or not) as "Senator Garvey" or something similar

...course - perhaps knowing what we know about him now makes him more fit for elected office... at least he'd be in the right company ;-)
   15. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 27, 2006 at 09:01 PM (#2269494)
Ask Don Sutton what he thinks of Steve Garvey. Ha, ha.

Garvey could play. But so could a lot of guys. And they weren't sanctimonious, insufferable pr@cks along the way.

Former players, coaches, managers, etc all engage in revisionism to help old buds. What is telling about the Steverino is that you have to coldcall folks at 6 a.m. local time declaring them a sweepstakes winner contingent on saying something nice about Garvey.

And 3/4 would hang up.
   16. Traderdave Posted: December 27, 2006 at 09:05 PM (#2269496)
I thought HoM was the place where skirt chasing, sanctimony, fraud and pants-pooping are irrelevant.
   17. Traderdave Posted: December 27, 2006 at 09:11 PM (#2269499)
Walks and OBP, etc weren't valued by the Establishment in those days. Avg, HR's and durability were. Garvey was doing what was asked of him, giving what was valued. In todays' game, he might well be a patience and power producer, becasue that is what would be asked of him.
   18. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 27, 2006 at 09:12 PM (#2269500)
I thought HoM was the place where skirt chasing, sanctimony, fraud and pants-pooping are irrelevant.

It is, Dave. It's just fun to talk about it. :-)
   19. Traderdave Posted: December 27, 2006 at 09:14 PM (#2269501)
Incidentally, how does one become a voter? I'd be interested.
   20. JPWF13 Posted: December 27, 2006 at 09:17 PM (#2269503)
Walks and OBP, etc weren't valued by the Establishment in those days. Avg, HR's and durability were. Garvey was doing what was asked of him, giving what was valued. In todays' game, he might well be a patience and power producer, becasue that is what would be asked of him.


I doubt it, his k/bb ratio- 1003/479 was worse than average for his time, to some extent a hacker is a hacker

Oliver on the other hand 756/535, had better command of the strike zone-

but it's not so easy to change your approach to hitting. It's more likely that if Garvey was playing today, his Avg-HR-RBI would be high enough that no one outside of a few Sabr teams would gripe about his lack of walks.
   21. DCW3 Posted: December 27, 2006 at 09:22 PM (#2269506)
I thought HoM was the place where skirt chasing, sanctimony, fraud and pants-pooping are irrelevant.

Perhaps someday we will find a player who was a great athlete, a prince of a man, but plagued his whole career by incontinence, and we will have to reconsider the appellation "pants-pooping fraud."
   22. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: December 27, 2006 at 09:37 PM (#2269513)
Ignoring the off the field stuff, Garrett Anderson is a very good modern comp for Garvey. Indeed, Anderson shows up as the most similar hitter for most of Garvey's peak years. Garvey had more good seasons, but they're both (a) good defenders who did not play a key defensive position, (b) hackers who nonetheless regularly hit .300, and (c) put up good RBI totals on playoff teams. For all of these reasons they were both somewhat overrated by sportswriters and fans. Also, both faded fairly quickly after 30 (assuming Anderson isn't bouncing back).
   23. zonk Posted: December 27, 2006 at 09:39 PM (#2269514)
Walks and OBP, etc weren't valued by the Establishment in those days. Avg, HR's and durability were. Garvey was doing what was asked of him, giving what was valued.

With apologies for the continuance of steering this HOM thread off course, I agree with JPWF13 -- I mean, Ruth and Cobb didn't play in the sabr-heyday, but Cobb still managed 1200 careers BBs, and Ruth, of course, held the career mark until recently.

I think hitters "are what they are" -- despite the moneyball wave (which, I don't think, equates automagically to OBP) today - you still have Alfonso Soriano getting an 8/136 contract. That doesn't mean hitters can't change their approaches or that some players don't stall in terms of plate disciple, or, in rare cases -- improve (Sosa).

Garvey was a hacker with an underrated bit of power whose reflexes were good enough to compensate for poor plate discipline. I think he would have exhibited marginally the same walk rate whether you plopped him into the 1920s, 1930s, 1950s, 1990s, or 2000s. His power numbers may have fluctuated, but I don't see the BB rate changing.

I don't mean this as another slap at non-high walk rate players, either -- just saying that a hitter basically is what he is... free-swinger that hits well enough to mask low walk totals, patient slugger that stands like a statue till he gets his mistake pitch, bat control magician that rarely Ks or walks... whatever.

I'm sure someone knows the answer to this -- but while different eras may have seen different rates for things like HRs/2Bs/3Bs/etc -- I'd be willing to bet that era-to-era walk rates are probably more consistent than most other numbers (throwing out some of the early seasons with different rules dealing with foul balls and what not).
   24. sunnyday2 Posted: December 27, 2006 at 09:43 PM (#2269516)
Dave, just submit a prelim ballot on this thread along with a description of your "system" and your commentary on the players on your ballot and those in the current top 10 backlog who are not on your ballot. We will skewer you for a couple days, but then you'll be "in."

Just be sure to show your respects to all eras, especially "Jake Beckley's."
   25. Chris Fluit Posted: December 27, 2006 at 09:55 PM (#2269532)
19. Traderdave Posted: December 27, 2006 at 03:14 PM
Incidentally, how does one become a voter? I'd be interested.

It's actually pretty simple, Traderdave. First, you post a preliminary ballot on that year's ballot discussion thread (currently 1993). Next, the current electorate goes over your ballot. Then, you're given a couple of unofficial "good to go"s from other voters and an official "good to go" from either commissioner Joe Dimino or administrator John Murphy. Finally, you post your ballot on the new ballot thread. And then you're a voter. The procedure is actually pretty easy. The tough stuff is non-procedural. One of the hard things is evaluating more than a century's worth of players and ranking them against each other. You won't have to evaluate everyone, but you should at least have evaluated the top 50 returnees or thereabouts before posting your first ballot. Depending on how exhaustive you want to be about your research and rankings, that can be a lot of work. The other hard thing is putting up with the scrutiny of other voters. We can be pretty hard on each other, especially on somebody new. Other voters will have their pet candidates or pet causes and you'll have to defend your ballot against plenty of criticisms and arguments. That's not necessarily a bad thing. If you've done adequate research, you should be able to defend yourself. And we disagree with each other, so it's only natural that some of us might disagree with you. Plus, some of the arguments may open your eyes to something or someone you might have otherwise missed. Despite my slight warnings, I don't mean to discourage you in the least. I think this is a great project to be a part of and I hope you do decide to join.
   26. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 27, 2006 at 09:57 PM (#2269536)
Ignoring the off the field stuff, Garrett Anderson is a very good modern comp for Garvey.

The best comp from another era would probably be Frank McCormick, a fine defensive first baseman who was also a good contact hitter with some pop in his bat, but hardly walked much. Though McCormick was very durable at his peak like Popeye, he didn't have as long of a career (though Buck didn't really start his ML career until he was 26).
   27. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 27, 2006 at 09:58 PM (#2269538)
Thanks for helping Dave out, Marc and Chris!
   28. JPWF13 Posted: December 27, 2006 at 09:59 PM (#2269540)
Ignoring the off the field stuff, Garrett Anderson is a very good modern comp for Garvey. Indeed, Anderson shows up as the most similar hitter for most of Garvey's peak years.


Garvey was a much better hitter in contect though (70s Dodger Stadium v. 00 Anaheim)

Through age 34 Garrett has a career OPS+ of 105- Garvey's was 122. The average of Garrett's 10 comps was 121. After 34- Garrett's comps put up an OPS+ of 106. If Garrett declines by a similar ratio his 105 OPS+ will be something like 90- and he really shouldn't be playing much longer.
   29. jimd Posted: December 27, 2006 at 10:01 PM (#2269542)
Dave, just submit a prelim ballot on this thread

Actually, the "1993 Ballot Discussion" thread might be more appropriate for a sample prelim ballot.
   30. 1k5v3L Posted: December 27, 2006 at 10:01 PM (#2269543)
Thanks for the info on Garvey, guys. He certainly should have his children taken away.
   31. sunnyday2 Posted: December 27, 2006 at 10:07 PM (#2269547)
>Actually, the "1993 Ballot Discussion" thread might be more appropriate for a sample prelim ballot.

Yeah, what jimd said. My bad.
   32. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: December 27, 2006 at 10:18 PM (#2269562)
Garvey was a much better hitter in contect though (70s Dodger Stadium v. 00 Anaheim)

True. But at their peaks they were very similar: OPS+ in the 130s. Of course, Anderson only had a couple years at that level, and Garvey had a bunch more. Of course, an OPS+ in the 130 range is good but nothing special for a LF or 1b.
   33. jimd Posted: December 27, 2006 at 10:37 PM (#2269588)
Yeah, what jimd said. My bad.

I'd just assumed you forgot which thread you were posting in.
I do that from time to time.
   34. Jeff K. Posted: December 27, 2006 at 10:59 PM (#2269607)
Ignoring the off the field stuff, Garrett Anderson is a very good modern comp for Garvey.

Also ignoring context (era, park, position; though the last one is actually taken into account in similarity scores.) No offense to Yeeargh, but saying GA and SG are comparable is just untrue.
   35. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: December 27, 2006 at 11:07 PM (#2269616)
Also ignoring context (era, park, position; though the last one is actually taken into account in similarity scores.) No offense to Yeeargh, but saying GA and SG are comparable is just untrue.

In what sense? I'm not saying that Anderson is as good as Garvey or has a similar HOF case. Simply that he was a similar type of player and is similarly perceived/overrated. As I've already noted, both are hackers who hit .300 with ok power, played non-key defensive positions but played them well, piled up a lot of RBIs, and peaked offensively in the 130 OPS+ range. Garvey was better because he was able to maintain his peak for a lot longer.
   36. Jeff K. Posted: December 27, 2006 at 11:29 PM (#2269626)
In what sense? I'm not saying that Anderson is as good as Garvey or has a similar HOF case. Simply that he was a similar type of player and is similarly perceived/overrated. As I've already noted, both are hackers who hit .300 with ok power, played non-key defensive positions but played them well, piled up a lot of RBIs, and peaked offensively in the 130 OPS+ range. Garvey was better because he was able to maintain his peak for a lot longer.

I would argue that GA is not similarly perceived/overrated as SG. GA was underrated for a very long time, and only became overrated due to the plethora of articles/columns about how underrated he was.

As far as their hitting goes, you're probably pretty correct.

"Played non-key defensive positions" is pretty vague. SG, by all accounts, played a position on the far left of the spectrum very well. GA played one somewhere near the left fairly okay.
   37. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: December 27, 2006 at 11:45 PM (#2269639)
I don't know if Anderson was ever underrated. Despite impressive HR and RBI totals, he was pretty mediocre until 2002. He then had two very good (but not MVP level) years in 2002 and 2003, and then rapidly declined. He wasn't a bad player pre 2002, and to the extent people were saying he didn't deserve a job they were wrong (were many people saying that?).

"Played non-key defensive positions" is pretty vague. SG, by all accounts, played a position on the far left of the spectrum very well. GA played one somewhere near the left fairly okay.

Isn't the defensive spectrum C/SS/2B/CF/3B/RF/LF/1B? So 1B and LF are pretty similar in terms of defensive value.
   38. OCF Posted: December 27, 2006 at 11:54 PM (#2269646)
Having run his numbers - except for the fact that Garvey has a longer career, I'd rather have Ron Fairly. Nowhere close to my ballot. Now part of this may be the penalty exacted in an RCAA system for GIDP, which might not be entirely fair (the same effect will weigh on Jim Rice), but I see no reason to put Garvey into my serious consideration set. Ron Cey will rank much higher for me.
   39. DavidFoss Posted: December 28, 2006 at 12:14 AM (#2269664)
He wasn't a bad player pre 2002, and to the extent people were saying he didn't deserve a job they were wrong (were many people saying that?).

Before 2002 was 4300 PA with an OPS+ of 99 for a LF/CF (and RF). Guys like that usually find work somewhere, but they are also usually on the verge of becoming a fourth outfielder at any time. He had the two fine years in 2002-3, but now he's back playing at the 3rd-4th OF-er level again.

Anyhow, Dodger stadium in the 1970s was a different world. Garvey was a much better player. I agree with OCF, though. He's at that Fairly/Vernon/Oliver level of player (and a bit below them too, due to GIDP/WWII/CF respectively).
   40. Juan V Posted: December 28, 2006 at 03:26 AM (#2269743)
I've run Garvey through my OPS+ spreadsheet, and I'm not sure I'll even bother completeing the evaluation with the WARP part. He's probably closer to Garret Anderson than to the HOM borderline.

Just for filling up my post

AVG/SLG overall: .294/.446
AVG/SLG with RISP: .295/.448
   41. rico vanian Posted: December 28, 2006 at 04:31 AM (#2269769)
I think that alot of bias towards Garvey is because of his "Mr. All America" persona and the resultant "feet of clay" reality. I remember him being an above average playerleading one of the most successful teams of the 70's. Played practically every day, steady and not adverse to "clutch" performances. He'll be on my ballot.
And if his adultery and paternity issues are a proviso, than there better never be a Hall of Merit for basketball players.
   42. KJOK Posted: December 28, 2006 at 04:59 AM (#2269781)
Garvey's RCAP is only 57, and his POW is -6 (NEGATIVE 6)!

Even ignoring his last few years, he looks very mediocre for a 1st baseman.
   43. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 28, 2006 at 06:50 PM (#2270044)
Three things:

One
We can be pretty hard on each other, especially on somebody new.

I'm seeing this as a very recent innovation in the balloting. There's a lot more scrutiny and questioning of ballots in the last several years than ever I can remember. Is this because fewer voters are posting prelims (self included!)? Or are we just getting old and crotchedy?

+++++

Two

Was Steve Garvey a self proclaimed member of any religion?

+++++

Three

Seems to me that the best contemporary comp for Garvey is Kirby Puckett. Same kind of hitters, same adoration from the media, both with public faces done in by an unseamly reality.

If you looked for would-be Garveys today, who would you pick out? You'd want to find some basic qualities:
1) Has a very well-ingrained public face of being a team leader and a character guy which the media perpetuates.
2) He's got to be an All-Star caliber player.
3) Hasn't yet gotten in any trouble which could diminish his public presence.
optional 4) Plays for a winning team so he has some national prominence.

The first item negates A-Rod (and his "choke" issues). The third negates Dontrelle Willis (just got a DUI) and Chipper Jones. Both negate anyone under steroid suspicion.

To my mind, the number one would-be Garvey should be Derek Jeter, he's baseball's golden boy and the media treats him with amazing deference. Here's a couple others possibilities:
I-Rod
David Ortiz
Paul LoDuca
Jason Varitek

I'll add John Smoltz, too, since he's the squeaky cleanest veteran leader left over from the Braves 1990s run, and he's a known religious sort.

The one other guy you might consider is Eckstein, though I think he's not good enough of a player to merit it. On the other hand, his story has been told with such frequency this autumn that his inclusion on this list might be unavoidable.
   44. JPWF13 Posted: December 28, 2006 at 06:59 PM (#2270056)
To my mind, the number one would-be Garvey should be Derek Jeter, he's baseball's golden boy and the media treats him with amazing deference. Here's a couple others possibilities:
I-Rod
David Ortiz
Paul LoDuca
Jason Varitek

I'll add John Smoltz, too, since he's the squeaky cleanest veteran leader left over from the Braves 1990s run, and he's a known religious sort.


I-Rod??? There's already been PED allegations against him- and prior to teh WS with Fla was widely regarded as a crappy teammate.

LoDuca??? Aside from the LA Mediot love fest after the "Trade" no one bought the "heart and soul act" I have friends who are Dodger fans- they were quite suprised by that stuff- they liked LoDuca but they always (pre trade) had the impression he was bad in the clubhouse- In NY? He's already had 2 "sex scandals".

Jeter's probably the best comp- but he lacks Garvey's holier than thou family man act.
   45. BDC Posted: December 28, 2006 at 11:41 PM (#2270366)
Garrett Anderson is a very good modern comp for Garvey

I made this claim once and Steve Treder laughed it to scorn. Garvey was probably quite a bit the better hitter, but they are indeed alike in being associated with winners, having most of their value in BA and RBIs, being perceived as stars, though Garvey was much more popular, playing in So. Cal., being consistent everyday players ... I guess it's a limited comparison, but there are good elements to it, I think.
   46. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: December 28, 2006 at 11:52 PM (#2270375)
I made this claim once and Steve Treder laughed it to scorn. Garvey was probably quite a bit the better hitter, but they are indeed alike in being associated with winners, having most of their value in BA and RBIs, being perceived as stars, though Garvey was much more popular, playing in So. Cal., being consistent everyday players ... I guess it's a limited comparison, but there are good elements to it, I think.

Right -- their careers look very different, but at their peak they were very similar types of players. Garvey is Anderson if Anderson had been able to reproduce his 2002 5-6 more times. Garvey wasn't any better a hitter on a seasonal basis; he just maintained that 120-130 OPS+ level for 8 seasons, whereas Anderson only did it twice. And I think it's pretty likely that, had Anderson replicated his 2002 performance in several other seasons he'd be massively overrated at this point.
   47. Rick A. Posted: December 29, 2006 at 03:21 AM (#2270546)
How come Garvey is so hated because of his false "good guy" image and yet Kirby Puckett was never loathed as much as Garvey, after his off-the-field problems came out? Puckett also promoted his "good guy" image to a very large degree.
   48. Rick A. Posted: December 29, 2006 at 03:23 AM (#2270547)
Dr. C

Sorry, didn't see your #43 before I posted.
   49. Rick A. Posted: December 29, 2006 at 03:26 AM (#2270549)
Is this because fewer voters are posting prelims (self included!)? Or are we just getting old and crotchedy?


It might be we're well into players who have played during our living memories. Maybe we're afraid of voters coming on to simply vote for their favorites without being fair to players still in our backlog.
   50. Boogie Nights Powell Posted: December 29, 2006 at 04:07 AM (#2270578)
In Jay Johnstone's book Temporary Insanity there was a chapter devoted to Garv that was pretty humorous. Johnstone was a teammate of Garvey's, and apparently liked and admired him.

One story had to do with Garvey's refusal to say the word f@ck. Johnstone and some of the other Dodgers spent much of one season trying to get him to but he would not say it. Finally one day Garv had enough and screamed at the top of his lungs, "f@ck f@ck f@ck f@ck f@ck f@ck! Are you happy now?" Broke the team up.

Personally I couldn't stand Garvey even before his personal shortcomings became public. I don't know what it was about the guy, but he was easy to hate.
   51. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: December 29, 2006 at 04:14 AM (#2270583)
How come Garvey is so hated because of his false "good guy" image and yet Kirby Puckett was never loathed as much as Garvey, after his off-the-field problems came out? Puckett also promoted his "good guy" image to a very large degree.

Puckett's good guy reputation was of a lovable guy. Garvey's reputation was of a goody-two-shoes that always had a sanctimoniousness about it. The revelations about Puckett made people find sad. The revelations about Garvey made people feel "HA!" As mentioned upthread, though people like to forgive a sinner, no one has a harder time being forgiven than someone who came off better-than-you holier-than-thou.

Also, and to be clear I don't know if this is true, I read in some thread that Puckett's downward spiral really began when his fluke eye problem cost him his baseball life. I do know that when he died his ex-wife (whom he'd abused) was at his bedside.
   52. Cblau Posted: December 29, 2006 at 04:42 AM (#2270609)
I don't see how anyone would have him above Norm Cash. Some comparisons:

PA  OPS+  BRAR FWS  FRAA  FRAR
Garvey 9466  116    546  38    44   243
Cash   7910  139    683  34   106   251 


Similar defensive value; Cash a much better hitter.
   53. Traderdave Posted: December 29, 2006 at 04:45 AM (#2270612)
I think Cash is HOF, as well as HOM
   54. sunnyday2 Posted: December 29, 2006 at 05:01 AM (#2270629)
>Is this because fewer voters are posting prelims (self included!)? Or are we just getting old and crotchedy?

>>It might be we're well into players who have played during our living memories. Maybe we're afraid of voters coming on to simply vote for their favorites without being fair to players still in our backlog.

I think this is mostly the right answer though I think it's the converse or inverse or converse-inverse or whatever. i.e. Our "favorites" are now really favorites, not just guys whose numbers jump out at us but guys we cheered for and admired and who gave us our big thrills as sports fans. So it's more likely that people get upset when others just don't see what we saw in the player. They not only don't share our judgment, they don't share our passion and that can be maddening.
   55. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 29, 2006 at 05:09 AM (#2270634)
Padron my ignorance, but why is/was Garvey so hated by so many people?

Picture captain jackass running between first and second in 1984 NLCS Game 4 with his swarmy oversized masterbation forearm thrust in the air with his smug holier-than-thou "I just nailed your sister" grin on his face, and if you don't want to break things, you aren't human.

I thought HoM was the place where skirt chasing, sanctimony, fraud and pants-pooping are irrelevant.

We have found the exception that proves the rule.
   56. DL from MN Posted: December 29, 2006 at 09:01 PM (#2271012)
Puckett was well liked by his teammates and across baseball. I think he was a genuine class act between the lines. He also (grudgingly) did a lot of community service and put on a good public persona. His personal life had problems but I don't think he ever tried to leverage baseball into a career in the public trust or screw over anyone in business. He didn't father any children out of wedlock but that's mainly because he couldn't father children.
   57. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 29, 2006 at 09:18 PM (#2271026)
Whose fault is it that we thought he was a good guy?

I blame society.

Won an MVP he didn't deserve- he wasn't the best player on his own team, and it wasn't even his own best season.

The awarding of him the MVP in '74 has to rank as one of the worst ever. Schmidt, Morgan, Bench, Niekro, and Wynn (not to mention a few other players in the vicinity of Steverino's value) were clearly better during the season, but Garvey had the better triple crown numbers, so...
   58. Dizzypaco Posted: December 29, 2006 at 10:58 PM (#2271075)
Steve Garvey is the perfect example of a player who was overrated by the press when he played, and underrated by most BTF posters. Two of Garvey's best attributes were his durability and consistency, both of which get totally ignored by many people. These traits were defining characteristics of Garvey's, and make him very dissimilar to some of the players mentioned above (Vernon, Cash, etc.) I wouldn't vote for Garvey for the HOF, but he was better that what people say.

In the '82 Abstract, Bill James went through an exercise where he named all of the characteristics of a perfectly overrated player (is good in the triple crown stats, bad in the ones overlooked by others, plays a non-important position, plays in a big market, for a team that is often in the post season, is White, etc.) There were some others. Garvey fit the profile almost perfectly. However, at the end of the article, James goes out of his way to say that Garvey is not particularly overrated. As I remember it, he said something like, "Garvey is one of those players who you absolutely know will give you a good season. That cannot be overstated."
   59. JPWF13 Posted: December 29, 2006 at 11:11 PM (#2271083)
of course either at time or almost immediately after James said:
"Garvey is one of those players who you absolutely know will give you a good season. That cannot be overstated."


His streak of seasons where his OPS+ was 121-137 was at an end and he started throwing up .282/.301/.418 and .284/.307/.373 type seasons (as a 1B).

Did anyone ever notice that when durability and consistency are touted as someone's main virtues (especially when someone wants their team to sign or trade for a guy)- that someone's durability/consistency and sometimes whole career goes in the tank?

I remember when Russ Ortiz was signed= a lot of posters said that was one of the better deals that off season - he was durable and consistent, 4 straight years 200+ innings, ERA+ over 100.

Then boom.

I remember a few years ago reading an article that said that Ray Durham was (according to similarity scores) the most consistent player in baseball over a 4-5 year period- he has been anything but consistent since*


*actually his OPS+ has stayed amazingly consistent- the form of that production and his playing time have fluctuated wildly
   60. DavidFoss Posted: December 29, 2006 at 11:47 PM (#2271100)
Did anyone ever notice that when durability and consistency are touted as someone's main virtues (especially when someone wants their team to sign or trade for a guy)- that someone's durability/consistency and sometimes whole career goes in the tank?

Yeah, durability/consistency does sound a bit like a back-handed compliment. :-)

I think James was just trying not to overdo the 'bashing' of a guy who was "overrated". "Overrated" is by definition a relative term. Was he overrated? Of course! The BBWAA gave him an MVP and 2.46 Award shares (same as Rickey Henderson) which was clearly more credit than he was actually worth. And yes he did have superior teammates (Cey, Wynn, Smith, etc) who deserved more credit than they were getting.

But too many people equate "overrated" with "bad". Garvey may not be a HOM-er, but he's certainly HOVG. I think James just didn't want to imply that he was a bad player because he wasn't.
   61. AndrewJ Posted: December 30, 2006 at 01:18 AM (#2271148)
Was Steve Garvey a self proclaimed member of any religion?

Yes, a very public Roman Catholic in the 1970s on a ballclub with a devout Catholic owner (O'Malley) and manager (Lasorda).

Even before the revelations of Garvey's out-of-wedlock kids, the fact that his picture-perfect first marriage ended in a nasty divorce hurt his public image considerably.
   62. zonk Posted: January 02, 2007 at 03:14 PM (#2272311)
If you've never read Boog's reference in #50 (Jay Johnstone's Temporary Insanity) - I do highly recommend it. Sure, it ain't Ball Four -- but it's a tasty bit of baseball candy... IIRC, the last line in Johnstone's story was "Never could get him to say motherf@cker, though."

The Lasorda stories alone are worth it -- and a little side bar to the Garvey story.... During Jay's swan song with LA - Lasorda and Johnstone were arguing about somesuch, and Lasorda said "at least my book can be sold to kids" or something similar (The page with the Garvey story had the word 'f@ck' printed something like 38 times, which had gotten it banned from the Dodger Stadium giftshop). Jay's follow-up tome -- "Over the Wall", I think -- left the same page number where appeared the Garvey story/38 instances of f@ck, blank.

In regards to the Puckett vs. Garvey -- it's the difference between ebullient and sanctimonious.
   63. Catfish326 Posted: January 05, 2007 at 07:28 PM (#2274928)
It was because of his hair. That perfectly combed stuff, with the side-part looked stiff as can be. It never seemed to move, and it always looked the same way . . . along with his goofy grin. He was dorky. He played like his hair looked. Stiff. No poetry points there.

He was the type of ballplayer whom "The Sports Establishment" like Curt Gowdy just raved about. I have a tape of a 1970's game and Joe Gargiola says of Garvey something like "now that's how you build a ballplayer . . . the perfect prototype."
   64. Catfish326 Posted: January 05, 2007 at 07:56 PM (#2274955)
This is a MUST read about Cyndy Garvey:

http://www.allensalkin.com/book/print/33

If you do not already know about Cyndy, after reading this, there is no doubt you'll think she's f*&#*'n nuts!
   65. GregD Posted: January 05, 2007 at 08:20 PM (#2274979)
She dated Larry King? He might be the only person in the world who would be a step down from Garvey. Yuck.
   66. Catfish326 Posted: January 05, 2007 at 09:39 PM (#2275038)
Gavey maintains his website at www.stevegarvey.com. I find these types of websites as sad and kind of pathetic. My favorite football player, Fran Tarkenton, has one of these types of sites also. I know many ex-athletes and washed-up entertainers have them. Faded stars the world has pretty much forgotten, and they cling to their old fame in the most pathetic ways (Al Bundy-like, when he always brought up that one high school football performance where he scored four touchdowns in one game . . . ) In a huge font Garvey hails himself as "MOTOVATIONAL SPEAKER" and "PRODUCT ENDORSER". He refers to himself as a "legend". He has is own "call for cooperstown". He offers signed memorabelia at inflated prices. Really sad.
   67. Catfish326 Posted: January 05, 2007 at 09:51 PM (#2275043)
You have to check out Garvey's bio page on his website. It's really too much! I never disliked him . . . UNTIL NOW. "To focus solely on Steve Garvey's baseball accomplishments would leave out a lifetime of achievements as a businessman, philanthropist, volunteer and most importantly a devoted family man. As a father of seven children Garvey understands that in the ever-changing world we live in there is a great necessity of being a man of honor, integrity and quality." GAG! How about: "Steve Garvey - a name synonymous with excellence and success. One of baseball's most popular and durable players during one of baseball's greatest era's, Garvey is known to even the most casual of baseball fans." What hyperbole, and doesn't this guy simply LOVE himself!
   68. ronw Posted: January 05, 2007 at 09:57 PM (#2275046)
Catfish:

What are the chances that Garvey wrote (or has even read) his website. I would think that a lot of the fluff is just some paid publicist doing his/her job (selling Garvey memorabilia).

I'm not a Garvey apologist at all, and I'm definitely not a publicist apologist, but I don't know that you can say he loves himself because he has a website.
   69. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: January 05, 2007 at 10:01 PM (#2275049)
Interesting that Fran is your favorite football player, if there was a comp list of former athletes, Garvey and Tarkenton are near 1000 with their failed and sleazy business ventures.

Garvey probably wrote everything on his site. And paid some 15 year old 20 bucks to build it.
   70. Catfish326 Posted: January 05, 2007 at 10:09 PM (#2275054)
What are the chances that Garvey wrote (or has even read) his website.

It was probably ghost-written, however, there is no doubt that he oversees and consents to what is said about him on the site. You can contact Garvey through the website and your can request his appearance through the website. The exaggerated, stomach-turning puffery has been blessed by Mr. Clean himself, aka Mr. Honor, Mr. Integrity, and Mr. Quality.
   71. Catfish326 Posted: January 05, 2007 at 10:29 PM (#2275066)
Interestingly, the same type of website can be found for Pete Rose and Jose Canseco.
   72. Traderdave Posted: January 05, 2007 at 10:35 PM (#2275069)
I used to work with a guy who looked and acted JUST like Garvey. He was also a serial cheater and ended up divorced and bankrupt. Something about that hair, I guess.

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