The ’81 World Series MVP likes what he sees in Kemp and Kershaw
When it comes to baseball, you don’t have to be from Los Angeles to recognize the names Garvey, Lopes, Russell and Cey—one of the greatest assembled infields ever to play the game. This quadruple threat helped lead the Dodgers to win the NL Pennant in ’74, ’77 ’78 and the World Series in ’81 against their heated rivals, the New York Yankees. Who was the MVP of that World Series? Ron Cey.
Cey met with many fans at Hall of Fame Cards to sign autographs, pose for photos and, most importantly—talk baseball. Enthusiasts of all ages showed up to meet and greet the 6-time All-Star, ranging from those who followed his career from the beginning as 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 fan turn out on the corner of Foothill and 5th between 11 and 12:30 Saturday.
“The Penguin,” as Manager Tommy Lasorda called him due to his waddle-like run on the base path, Cey was a staple at third base during the fantastic run the Dodgers had 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 5th highest in the club’s history.
Still remaing very much active with the Dodger organization in a marketing, sponsorship and community affairs capacity, C ey still keeps in touch with former teammates including Steve Garvey (1B), Davey Lopes (2B) and Bill Russell (SS) who he played eight seasons with. It was the longest any infield ensemble played together in major league history. “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 use to these days compared to glory days Cey spent with the team. The 2011 team barely finished above .500 in September, 11 ½ games out of first place, with a cloud of uncertainty looming over them thanks to the ownership woes that still are still waiting to be settled.
But despite tough times, Cey sees a promising future for the team. Especially with names like Kemp and Kershaw in the mix. “I was very pleased with the way that Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw performed this year under some difficult circumstances,” he 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 said. Cey went on to say tha Kemp is “very deserving” of the MVP award for the National League and hopes that Kershaw follows in the footsteps of other Dodger pitching greats, such as Newcombe, Drysdale and 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.”
Hall of Fame Cards owner Bob Newton has hosted similar events with Steve Garvey and Bill Russell, as well as Maury Wills. He hopes to have Davey Lopes at his family-owned card shop soon…the missing piece of that ’81 World Series infield. For more information about upcoming events at Hall of Fame Cards, visit .http://www.halloffamebaseballcards.com.