When it comes to baseball, you don’t have to hail from Los Angeles to recognize the names Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell and Ron Cey. The four joined forces to make one of the greatest infields ever assembled.
This quadruple threat helped lead the Dodgers to win the National League Pennant in ’74, ’77 ’78 and the World Series in ’81 against long-time rivals, the New York Yankees.
Cey was the MVP of that World Series.
He met with fans Saturday at in Arcadia to sign autographs, pose for photos and, most importantly, talk baseball. Baseball enthusiasts of all ages showed up to meet and greet the six-time All-Star. Attendees ranged from those who followed his career from the beginning as a rookie with the Dodgers in ’68, to little leaguers who aspire to be major league players themselves someday.
“It’s very gratifying,” Cey said of the face-to-face wtih fans.
“The Penguin,” who earned his sobriquet from his waddle-like run on the base path, was a staple at third base in the ’70s and early ’80s. During his impressive career with the Dodgers, Cubs and A’s, Cey posted a .261 batting average, hit 1,139 RBIs and belted 318 home runs.
The 228 home runs he had in a Dodger uniform is the fifth highest in the club’s history.
Still remaing very much active with the Dodger organization in a marketing, sponsorship and community affairs capacity, Cey keeps in touch with many former teammates, including Garvey, Lopes and Russell.
Dodgers Promising Future?
“I’m very pleased with the era of baseball I played in, and the group of players I played with,” Cey said. “We had the individual and team success that lived up to the history and tradition of the Dodgers. Anything less than that would have been a disappointment,” he said.
Disappointment is a word that Dodgers fans have gotten used to these days, compared to glory days Cey spent with the team. The 2011 team barely finished above .500 in September and has a cloud of uncertainty looming over it due to the ownership woes waiting to be settled.
But despite tough times, Cey sees a promising future ahead for the team, especially with players like Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw in the mix.
“I was very pleased with the way that Kemp and Kershaw performed this year under some difficult circumstances,” Cey said. “I thought both Ned [Colletti] and Donny [Mattingly] did a good job during this period of time. We had a club that was well under .500 midway through the season … and finished above .500, playing very well the last month of the season.”
Cey went on to say that Kemp is “very deserving” of the MVP award for the National League and hopes that Kershaw follows in the footsteps of Dodger pitching greats Don Newcombe, Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax by bringing home a Cy Young award.
In a bit of advice to all the youngsters playing ball today in hopes of making it to the big leagues some day, Cey says “Have fun!” “If it works out to where you are pretty good and have a dream, you should follow it and see where it leads.”