I respected Steve Garvey as a baseball player, but I rarely, if ever, cheered for him. I was no fan of those 1970s and early 1980s Dodger teams that included the likes of Davey Lopes, Ron “The Penguin” Cey, Bill Russell, Reggie Smith, Don Sutton, Steve Yeager, and Burt Hooten, etc. (I did like pinch-hitters Vic Davalillo and Manny Mota). Garvey had a good career. He had a lifetime batting average of .294 with 2,599 hits, 272 home runs, and 1,308 RBIs. He was a 10-time All-Star. I always thought of him, largely because of his swing and posture, as some kind of baseball robot.
Now, at age 75, Garvey is running for Diane Feinstein’s California Senate seat.
Here is Lara Korte at Politico:
Even more than 30 years after his retirement, it’s clear Garvey’s got game. At every stop along the campaign trail, he’s instantly recognized, with fans greeting him as he strolls down the street. His ability to connect with fans — especially those who grew up watching him play for the Dodgers and, later, the San Diego Padres — has made him a beloved figure among Californians and baseball fans broadly.
The question now, however, is whether he can turn that enthusiasm into votes.
He wouldn’t be the first to try. Celebrity politicians, while a somewhat rare breed nationally, have a longstanding history in California. Around the same time Garvey was first drafted into professional baseball, Ronald Reagan was beginning his first term as California’s governor. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his own campaign for governor on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 2003. And in 2021, Olympic decathlete Caitlyn Jenner made a half-hearted attempt at replacing Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in a recall election that ultimately failed.
But even with his starpower, Garvey faces an incredibly steep climb. Republicans haven’t won a statewide office in California since 2006, when Schwarzenegger clinched a second term as governor and businessman Steve Poizner was elected insurance commissioner. Since then, Democrats have dominated. For years, the Republican Party has struggled to register more than 25 percent of the state’s voters and is often outnumbered by Californians with no party affiliation.
It’s part of the reason Garvey’s entrance into the race last fall barely registered among California’s political class, which was more focused, at the time, on the three-way battle between Democratic Reps. Barbara Lee, Katie Porter and Adam Schiff.
But just last month, a POLITICO | Morning Consult poll clocked Garvey at 19 percent, placing him in a statistical dead-heat for second place behind Schiff, the Democratic frontrunner — and giving him a shot at making it out of the state’s jungle primary and into the top-two runoff in November. For the first time in a long time, Republicans in California feel they just might stand a chance at statewide office — even if that chance isn’t all that great. Still, so far Garvey appears to be running his race like a cameo, popping up in campaign stops just like he did on Arli$$, Baywatch and The Young and the Restless back in the day. He’ll talk all day about baseball, career politicians and the need for teamwork in Washington. Just don’t ask the first-time politician to get specific about the issues.
Read the entire piece here.