I was born in 1980. It is very hard for me to examine a player’s career and say whether he belongs in the Hall-of-Fame or not, unless he played in my era. Robin Yount, George Brett, Nolan Ryan, these were all players I watched as kids and will tell my grandkids about seeing them live. But what about the guys I never saw live? Dave Concepcion, Ryne Sandberg, Ron Santo (Rest in peace)? What can I really say about them? All I have are the players’ numbers and anecdotes of their time. One such man for me is Steve Garvey. Garvey’s last year was the season I turned 7.
Why he belongs:
Here is what I see when I look at Garvey’s numbers. 2,599 hits. (#76) 1,143 runs. (#205) 440 doubles. (#107) 272 home runs. (#165). 1308 RBI’s. (#97) In 11 Postseason series, he batted .338, his lowest series being .200. He was an NLCS MVP & All-Star game MVP twice each.
He played in 160 games nine times, leading the league 6 times. He still holds the National League record for Consecutive games played. He got 200 hits 6 times, 2 in which he led the league. He had 100+ RBI’s 5 times. He hit over .300 7 times. He is one of 71 players to play in 10 All-Star Games. Only 5 players above Steve Garvey are not in the Hall-of-Fame (Pete Rose, Elston Howard, Mark McGwire, Del Crandall & Bill Freehan). He started 9 games, something only 25 people have done. Everybody else who has started 9 All-Star Games is in the Hall-of-Fame or on their way.
Why he doesn’t belong:
Honestly, I look at these stats and I don’t see why he’s not in. His wife wrote a tell-all book. He fathered some kids outside his marriage. He would not be the first Hall-of-Famer to live a tumultuous life (Ty Cobb, Dennis Eckersley, Enos Slaughter).
The most votes Steve Garvey ever got on a Hall-of-Fame ballot was 42.6% in 1995. The player elected that year was Mike Schmidt. 3 other people received more votes than Garvey: Phil Niekro, Don Sutton & Tony Perez (all Hall-of-Famers). Steve Garvey received more votes that year than Jim Rice & Bruce Sutter, both recently elected in the Hall-of-Fame.
Does Steve Garvey belong in the Hall-of-Fame? I don’t see how you can’t put him there.