SALT LAKE CITY — Utah baseball’s annual fundraiser featured “An Evening with Steve Garvey” Tuesday night downtown at the Sheraton Hotel. The 10-time major league All-Star, who began his professional career with the Ogden Dodgers and later lived in the state, said that it was nice to be back.
Garvey signed with the Dodgers as a first-round pick out of Michigan State in 1968. He recalled staying at the Ben Lomond Hotel and playing in Ogden for a manager by the name of Tommy Lasorda.
“It’s been quite a journey,” said the 69-year-old, who played in a National League record 1,207 consecutive games. The 1974 NL Most Valuable Player also earned MVP honors twice in the NLCS and two times in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
Garvey said that guys like himself who were blessed to play are in the memory business.
“We create memories and I think that’s one of the things I take the most pride in — having a good long career, playing on championship teams, 10 All-Star games, a number of magic moments,” Garvey said. “I was on the field for some great events.”
Highlights include Hank Aaron’s 715th career home run, Pete Rose’s record-breaking hit, Reggie Jackson’s three-homer game in the World Series and Nolan Ryan’s sixth no-hitter.
“Unfortunately we lost all those but I was on the field for them at least,” Garvey said with a laugh. “But I’m more of a historian. I got a chance to bat boy for the Brooklyn Dodgers at the age of 7 in Tampa, Florida, and literally had Jackie Robinson sit on my lap that day on the bench and from that point on grew up starting to have dreams and those dreams came true.”
Garvey had a batting average of .294 with 272 homers and 1,308 RBIs over a major league career with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1969-82) and San Diego Padres (1983-87).
“Another great player. This is the 14th year of us doing this banquet,” said Utah baseball coach Bill Kinneberg. “He just adds to the list of great players, great people, and we’re excited to have him here tonight.”
Previous guest speakers include Terry Francona (2005, 2008, 2017), Cal Ripken Jr. (2006), Brooks Robinson (2007), Harmon Killebrew (2009), Bruce Hurst (2010), Dave Winfield (2011), Ozzie Smith (2012), Tommy Lasorda (2013), John Farrell (2014), Jim Palmer (2015) and Ned Yost (2016).
Utah opens its season Feb. 16 at Oral Roberts. The Utes’ home opener is March 23 against Sacramento State.