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Former Dodgers players surprised by Steve Garvey’s delayed entry into politics

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Jerry Reuss isn’t at all surprised that his former Dodgers teammate Steve Garvey is running for the U.S. Senate.

The shocking part for Reuss is that it took Garvey so long to launch his political career.

“He’s a 75 years old rookie,” Reuss recently told The Times in an email.

Reuss was a left-handed pitcher who played for eight teams over 22 Major League Baseball seasons. Garvey was an infielder and one of the most popular Dodgers in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Their baseball careers intersected in Los Angeles from 1979-82.

Reuss told The Times that Garvey had thoughts of becoming an elected official back then, while Ronald Reagan was serving his first term as U.S. president.

“Steve always had the thought of entering the political arena,” Reuss said in the email. “He once told me that if a former actor could be President, why can’t a former baseball player?”

Some four decades later, Garvey has made quite an entrance into that arena. A UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll co-sponsored by The Times found that the Republican newcomer and Rep. Adam B. Schiff, the veteran Democratic congressman from Burbank, are in effect tied for the lead in the primary days before Tuesday’s election.

The poll shows Garvey is favored by 27% of likely voters, followed by Schiff with 25%, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) with 19% and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) with 8%, while 12% of likely voters pick a different candidate and 9% are undecided. The top two finishers advance to a November runoff. There, Schiff would hold a 53% to 38% advantage, with 9% undecided, over Garvey, according to the survey.

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Garvey was drafted by the Dodgers out of Michigan State in 1968 and remained with the organization until signing with the San Diego Padres as a free agent before the 1983 season. He played five seasons with the Padres before retiring.

Starting in June 1973 and running through the Dodgers’ World Series victory in 1981, Garvey played first base in one of MLB’s most celebrated and durable infields. For 8 1/2 seasons, that lineup almost always also included Davey Lopes at second base, Ron Cey at third and Bill Russell at shortstop.

Cey declined to comment for this article. The Times was unable to reach Lopes and Russell.

Two members of the Dodgers 1981 championship team recently came out in support of one of Garvey’s opponents for the Senate seat. In an announcement issued by Lee’s office Wednesday, Dusty Baker and Dave Stewart were listed among the endorsers for the Oakland congresswoman. Baker and Stewart have ties to Northern California and spent parts of their MLB careers with the Athletics.

Tom Niedenfuer was a rookie pitcher for the Dodgers during the 1981 season. As a Florida resident, Niedenfuer has been watching Garvey’s young political career from afar and isn’t surprised by his former teammate’s success in that area.

“I could definitely see him going into something like this,” Niedenfuer told The Times in a recent phone interview. “He was always well spoken, great with the media, and definitely had his points of views, so it’s not surprising at all. And he’s always been a great businessman, so I’m really not surprised and he’ll be very successful with this.”

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Asked if he could think of any weaknesses Garvey might have as a politician, Niedenfuer could think of only one.

“The only thing I could possibly think of is he’s not aggressive enough to fire back at people with bad stuff, because he’s such a good guy,” Niedenfuer said. “He’s not the kind to attack other people and other opponents. He’s always been great to everybody. If there was any weakness, I would say he’s too nice.”

Padres player Steve Garvey greets some of his loyal fans at Dodger Stadium in a black and white photo.

San Diego Padres player Steve Garvey, formerly of the Dodgers, greets some of his loyal fans at Dodger Stadium on April 16, 1983.

(Lennox McLendon / Associated Press)

Reuss, who lives in Nevada, said he hasn’t followed Garvey’s campaign enough to have an opinion on his former teammate’s politics. But, Reuss added of Garvey, “He’s as sincere now as the day I met him.”

Like Reuss, former longtime Dodgers broadcaster Ross Porter is surprised Garvey waited so long to enter politics.

“Steve would be a good senator and a better choice than his opponents, especially the obnoxious Adam Schiff,” Porter told The Times in an email, adding that he and his wife have donated to Garvey’s campaign.

Asked by The Times if he had any stories that demonstrated the qualities he thought would suit Garvey well as a senator, Porter replied with this anecdote:

“On a Sunday afternoon, August 28, 1977, Garvey went into a game against the Cardinals at Dodger Stadium, mired in the worst batting slump he experienced in his 19-year major league career. In his previous 84 plate appearances, he had hit a miserable .139.

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“Before the game that day, two nuns introduced a young girl who was disabled, to her favorite Dodger player — Steve Garvey. During their conversation, the girl said, ‘Would you hit a home run for me today?’

“Garvey said he would try.

“That day, Garvey had the best offensive game he ever had. He collected 5 hits in 5 at-bats, drove in 5 runs, slugged two home runs, one a grand slam, and the Dodgers won, 11 to 0.

“Steve told me years later, he still maintained a correspondence with the girl.”

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The Contribution of Volcanoes to Venus’s Atmospheric Composition


One of the many mysteries surrounding Venus, our closest planetary neighbor, is the origin of its atmosphere. The planet is veiled in thick clouds, making it challenging to study its surface and atmospheric composition. However, scientists have long speculated about the role of volcanoes in shaping Venus and adding to its atmosphere. With approximately 85,000 volcanoes on Venus, the idea of active volcanic activity is a topic of interest and debate among researchers.

A recent paper by European researchers explores the question of whether Venus has active volcanism through two approaches. The first approach considers whether Venus can maintain its current atmospheric composition without additional gases from volcanic emissions. The variability of sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere over decades has been cited as potential evidence of ongoing volcanism. However, some scientists suggest that other factors, such as surface-atmosphere interactions or atmospheric dynamics, could also contribute to this variability.

The second approach focuses on identifying transient effects in Venus’ atmosphere that could indicate active volcanism. These effects could range from water vapor to particulate matter like volcanic ash. Data on these phenomena has been limited, primarily collected through remote sensing missions. However, upcoming missions to Venus, such as DAVINCI and EnVision, aim to provide more direct measurements and insights into the planet’s atmosphere.

DAVINCI, equipped with spectrometers and high-tech cameras, will gather data in Venus’ lower atmosphere to detect trace volcanic gases. It will also analyze ionic concentrations to indicate volcanic outgassing. EnVision, another mission, will focus on studying gases higher up in the atmosphere using various spectroscopic techniques to unravel mysteries in Venus’ cloud tops.

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While current missions offer valuable tools for studying Venus’ atmosphere, there are limitations to consider. For instance, an infrasound sensor could directly detect volcanic eruptions, but no missions currently include this technology. Despite these challenges, researchers are optimistic about the new insights these missions could bring to the ongoing debate on Venus’ volcanic activity.

With the earliest mission, DAVINCI, set to launch in approximately five years, scientists have time to refine their hypotheses and theories about Venus. The data collected during these missions could finally provide conclusive evidence regarding the presence of active volcanism on Venus, answering a long-standing question about our neighboring planet.

As researchers eagerly await the results from upcoming missions, the scientific community is hopeful that these endeavors will shed light on the enigmatic nature of Venus and its mysterious atmosphere. By leveraging advanced technologies and innovative approaches, scientists are poised to unravel the secrets of Venus and potentially redefine our understanding of planetary volcanism.

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