FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 23, 2018
Baseball’s Longest Running Infield
#SteveGarvey, #DaveyLopes, #BillRussell, #RonCey
On this date, June 23, 1973, the infields at Historic Dodgertown, Holman Stadium, Fields No.1, Field No.2, and the half-field at Field No. 3, were 3,000 miles away from Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. But, it was on those fields that would eventually lead to the longest running infield in baseball history.
In the second game of a doubleheader where the Dodgers hosted the Cincinnati Reds, the written lineup card tells of Steve Garvey at first base, Davey Lopes at second base, Bill Russell at shortstop, and Ron Cey at third base. From this date in June, 1983 until the 1981 World Championship, this quartet would remain intact and make baseball history. This game would be the first time the longest running infield were placed in the starting lineup. They had played a few innings together in a previous game, but this is the first time they were all in the regular lineup.
Each infielder had his own unique history but they had a great deal in common. All four players were originally drafted and signed by the Dodgers with Bill Russell, the first player acquired of the group in the 1966 Free Agent Draft. The 1968 drafts in the secondary phase would provide Davey Lopes in January, and later in June, Steve Garvey, and Ron Cey.
In the Dodgers’ method of instruction and developing talent, their experienced scouts and instructors always kept their options open to the ultimate position of a player. Often, the Dodgers would have a player change his amateur position to somewhere on the ball field where the player could best realize his potential. The term was known as “coconut snatching.” Some players succeed in the transformation to another position and others have their difficulties.
Three of the four Dodgers in the infield were “coconut snatched.” Steve Garvey, the third baseman in college, became a first baseman. Davey Lopes, an outfielder in college, converted to a second baseman. Bill Russell, a high school outfielder, was thought to have the tools sufficient to become a major league shortstop. And on those infields in Spring Training in Dodgertown, the changes began to occur. Garvey and Lopes later won Gold Gloves as being judged the best fielders at their position. Russell made the difficult change from the outfield to shortstop with the help of infield coach Monty Basgall, and thousands of infield fungos.
The four infielders together helped the Dodgers to four World Series, the 1981 World Championship, and played and won together more than any major league infield in history.
About Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida
“A Florida Heritage Landmark”
World-famous Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida is a multi-sport, 80-acre complex on Florida’s Treasure Coast managed by former Dodger owner Peter O’Malley in a partnership since 2012. O’Malley, whose family developed and expanded the site formerly known as “Dodgertown” for nearly 50 years, partnered with his sister Terry O’Malley Seidler and former Dodger star pitchers Chan Ho Park and Hideo Nomo.
On November 10, 2014, Historic Dodgertown was named a Florida Heritage Landmark for its unique historic significance extending beyond baseball, as the first completely integrated Spring Training site in the South. The “Baseball and Dodgertown” historical marker is located at the entrance to the conference center.
The home of Dodger Spring Trainings from 1948-2008, it was the starting place for six World Championships and 14 N.L. Pennant-winning teams. Numerous Baseball Hall of Fame players trained on these hallowed grounds, as well as 20 visits from professional teams in Asia.
The all-inclusive facility, owned by Indian River County, gives teams of all ages the unique opportunity to train, play, dine and stay together in on-site villas. Participants utilize one of 10 ½ playing fields (seven are Musco-lighted for night games), including a new cloverleaf of youth baseball/softball fields with concessions area and new multi-purpose field (110 by 130 yards) for football, soccer and lacrosse.
Other amenities include clubhouses, two full-sized weight rooms, dining room, Stadium Club lounge and a competition-size swimming pool. The home of 6,500-seat Holman Stadium, Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida provides an all-encompassing experience for guests and is the ideal setting to build a championship team. It’s the perfect location for tournaments, camps, schools, business conferences and seminars.
Continuing its tradition since 1983, the Los Angeles Dodgers Adult Baseball Camp returned to Historic Dodgertown in November, 2014. Visit historicdodgertown.com for more information.
Ruth Ruiz, Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida, (772) 257-8532