Beginning with a Harmless Lie and Ending with an Iconic Infield
By: Elvin Quan
The Dodger’s most decorated infield came to life with a single, harmless lie on June 23, 1973. The team’s manager, Walter Alston, decided to shake up the lineup before the game against the Cincinnati Reds, who they had previously lost to 4-1.
“I was sitting at my locker,” Garvey recalled, “and Walter Alston came by and stopped me and asked me, ‘Have you ever played first?’” Garvey had almost never played first base in his career. But that didn’t stop Garvey from replying, “Oh sure.” That night, Garvey alongside Ron Cey, Bill Russel, and Davey Lopez. From then on, the lineup was solidified, and the quartet went on to collect a combined 21 All-Star Game appearances, four National League pennants and a memorable 1981 World Series title playing alongside one another.
Fifty years later, Garvey, Cey, and Russel were reunited and honored at their home, the Dodger’s Stadium, where they threw out the first pitch and watched a tribute. “It’s just like your family,” Russell said. “We didn’t take anything for granted back then. You had to be successful to be together that long.”
That, the foursome was. Cey went to six straight All-Star Games from 1974 to 1979. Russell made the Midsummer Classic in 1973, 1976 and 1980. Lopes was a rookie of the year finalist in 1973, a Gold Glove winner in 1978, and a four-time All-Star from 1978 to 1981.
And then there was Garvey, who not only became a four-time Gold Glove winner at his adopted first base position but also won an NL Most Valuable Player Award in 1974 and appeared in eight consecutive All-Star Games through 1981 — the year the four infielders helped lead the Dodgers past the New York Yankees for the franchise’s first World Series title in 16 years.
The iconic infield won countless individual accomplishments and awards whilst winning bigger trophies as a family. How fortunate of a lie to spark The Dodger’s greatest quartet in history.