Friday, April 16, 2021

it wasn't just baseball card night

get ready for a looooooong post...

[but first (spoiler alert) let me share my excitement that topps has featured steve garvey on today's "turn back the clock" card. i am very pleased! now back to the originally written post.]

thirty eight years ago tonight (april 16, 1983), my family was at dodger stadium to see the dodgers host the padres. the pocket schedule will tell you that it was baseball card night - the fourth year in a row that the dodgers had partnered with the lapd to produce a stadium giveaway of oddly sized cards. it was also the fourth year in a row that my dad had taken us to that promotion's game.

the game was notable for another reason - it was the night that steve garvey would break billy williams' national league record of 1,117 consecutive games played.  while my brother and i were able to secure autographs from steve sax, mike scioscia, and tom niedenfuer on the backs of their cards issued that evening, the highlight for me was getting steve garvey himself to sign my autograph book.

i've torn my collection inside out looking for my ticket stub from that game (it used to be in my autograph book), with no success, but i do still have the program. let's take a look, shall we?
the cover celebrates the los angeles dodgers who had won the rookie of the year award up to that point, with the reigning roy, steve sax, front and center.

here's the opponent preview page, with a large photo of mr. clean.
i appreciate juan bonilla being noted as a dodger nemesis because he took jerry reuss deep in the top of the 1st inning. here's the scorecard
don't pay any attention to the scratched-out text under gene richards. i had put bonilla's name there instead of on the line intended for the second hitter. you can see further down that there wasn't enough space provided to capture all of the in-game changes that the padres made. kenny landreaux was listed as the starting centerfielder, but ron roenicke took the field instead. that's what the scratch-out is on the dodger side of the scorecard. 

you can see that the pads had a big first inning, which included a single from the man of the hour, but the dodgers wound up winning, 8-5. steve yeager hit a home run late in the game to end the scoring, and speaking of the dodger backstop, he appeared in an ad in the program for baseball cards!
i believe the concession stands sold collated team sets, not packs, but i don't recall for sure.  there was another ad in the program for cards, too:
a card dealer for new jersey thinking that i didn't enjoy opening packs and chewing the gum found in topps packs - the nerve!

i also have a bunch of photos with which to remember the game, thanks to my dad who always had a camera (or two) with him.  the first photo my dad took wasn't developed, but i looked at the (partial) negative, and it was a photo of fernando valenzuela, steve howe, tom niedenfuer and a few other relievers hanging out in left field near where our seats were down the left field line. shortly after he took that picture he took off toward the home plate area, as garvey was signing autographs near the visitor's dugout, and that's where i was at the time.
he told me that he stopped here because he thought he couldn't make it around in time to get a photo of me hoping for an autograph. it's too bad that he went this far and so wasn't able to get a decent photo. the big group of photographers there are taking photos of garvey signing, so somewhere, there may very well be a photo of garvey signing my book thanks to one of them. or maybe my dad just really wanted a photo of the padre i believe to be tim flannery. flannery grew up in orange county, so if that is him, it's possible that he's chatting with an old friend.

as he made his way back towards our seats, my dad took a photo of the dodgers in the cage
greg brock and steve sax are here, plus rick monday in the foreground. not sure who the bp pitcher is. here's another photo from a little further down the line
now we see derrel thomas waiting his turn with sax (who was still "s. sax" as his brother dave was in the dodger system). you can see that the photographers have dispersed over near the field level scoreboard, although flannery is still hanging out. also, the man visible above saxy's right shoulder is billy williams.

next up is a photo showing garvey being interviewed.
monday is still hanging out, and the garv is lit up in the center of the picture closer to the old dugout level seats. notice the old logo espn camera! i like to think that one of the guys on the field looks a bit like keith olbermann, but i don't know for sure if he was there. lots of great early 80's sportswriter fashion, though!

now my dad continues his trek back to our seats
he took a couple of photos of tommy lasorda, who is distracted by someone in the stands.

and there's manny mota! he's officially retired at this point, and was almost certainly hitting fungoes prior to this photo being taken.

not sure why ozzie virgil was hanging out along the 3rd base side, but there he is. he was a padres coach at the time. i am guessing my dad took his picture because he remembered him from his playing days with the giants. i know my dad saw him play a few times at both dodger stadium and candlestick.

next up are some photos from our seats or at least in the general vicinity of them.
those are a couple that feature candy maldonado shagging fly balls and fernando chatting with alex taveras. who knows - these could be the only photos of taveras as a dodger on the field.

the padres took bp next, but my dad only took one photo:
those guys are luis salazar, kurt bevacqua, and mike couchee. again, this could be one of the few mike couchee photos around as he made it in to only 8 games during the 1983 season during his big league career.

after bp, there was some pregame entertainment:
in case you hadn't guessed, it was part of the 6th annual battle of the bands competition
glen wilson high school is in hacienda heights, about 17.5 miles east-southeast of dodger stadium. we will see more of diamondvision later.
i don't know why my dad took these photos. he was not, nor were any of us kids, in band. ever. i am also not sure who the dodger is at the bottom of that last photo.

there was high confidence that the game would be played, so the ceremony honoring garvey took place before the first pitch. here's a photo of the crowd behind home plate where things were happening.
you can see tommy lasorda standing there in uniform next to billy williams. the two dodger ushers further to the left are standing by some presentation piece. i forget what it was.

garvey waved to the fans
it was definitely easier to see things on diamondvision., but here's another shot of the crowd around garvey:
it looks like the presentation is being made at this point, with williams and lasorda leaning forward to see what it is. ron roenicke (40) and derrel thomas (30) are playing catch with someone, and i think those are both bat boys playing catch to the left of the photo.

more images from diamondvision:
garvey got to speak, and he thanked the dodger fans for their support. williams also spoke, and was very congratulatory towards garvey. i believe he mentioned that he wasn't sure garvey would get to lou gehrig's record which of course was a very reasonable thing to say given garvey's age, but i didn't like hearing that.

here's the last photo that was developed:
starting lineups on the old right field scoreboard! as i mentioned up top, kenny landreaux (44) was replaced in the lineup by roenicke, although he did get in the game later on.

i looked at the negatives, and there is another photo that wasn't printed, and it appears to be garvey at bat in the top of the first inning. i'll have to see if i can get it printed now. if so, i'll add it to this post.

fast forward many years later, and i was beyond excited when fleer partnered with sports illustrated to produce cards in 1997 and included some of their covers as cards. then, in 1999, they came through with a card for their april 25, 1983 issue which covered the game in question. this was the impetus for my "cards featuring games i've attended in person collection", even though it was not the first card that i owned to feature a game i attended.

there aren't many cards that feature that game, but i am happy to have the ones that do:

1999 fleer sports illustrated greats of the game covers #46 steve garvey
1999 fleer sports illustrated greats of the game autographs #stga steve garvey
i am hoping that this year's topps/sports illustrated endeavor includes one of garvey's covers, even if it's not this one.

the only other card i've found (other than a couple of first-day covers) that is specific enough to be added to this collection is this 2005 donruss diamond kings
cool that donruss considered this to be a "crowning moment". that was good enough for me to include this card in the mini-collection.

here's the 2021 topps now turn back the clock card 
that will soon be added to this mini-collection as well!

speaking of mini-collections, i'll go ahead and use this post to show the card that represents all of my dodger stadium visits in another mini-collection - the "cards featuring stadiums i've attended games in" collection:
good old 1994 score features one of the earliest cards i recall seeing that showed chavez ravine.

one last item related to the game - i was not aware of this item until just a few months ago when a couple popped up on ebay. i wound up adding one as part of a lot of garvey oddballs that i purchased earlier this year.
that's a novelty penny commemorating the event. i don't recall seeing a penny machine at the stadium that night, but there certainly could have been one.  this oddball is in my garvey collection along with some other items from that purchase that i will show off later.  this post is long enough as it is. stay tuned!


  1. Such an awesome post! I sure wish I had pictures of my visits to Dodger Stadium from when I was a kid. I only started taking pictures of my visits there starting in the 2000's. I never did get to go to any of the games where the Dodger Police sets were given away but later I did get plenty of the Mother's Cookies cards. Love the pictures!

    1. I'm missing photos of games I went to in the early and mid 90s which is too bad. I'm thankful for camera phones these days.

  2. I hope your ticket stub shows up some day. Great post and I love all the pictures. I especially like the one where Lasorda is trying to see what's going on from the back of the pack.

  3. I really enjoy reading posts like this, especially because I wasn't following baseball until Garvey was at the tail end of his career. Thanks for sharing all of these great photos and anecdotes from the game.

    1. I have a couple more of these sorts of posts in the hopper. Stay tuned!

  4. It was really fun looking at these photos - thanks for sharing them!

    1. Thanks Bo. I've got a similar post in about a month.

  5. So cool that you were at that game and that Fleer, Donruss, and Topps have made cards recognizing Garvey and that night. Great stuff.

    1. I've been fortunate to see some great games and events, no doubt.

  6. What a great post! I really enjoyed reading it!

  7. Great post, thanks for sharing your memories and pictures!