Saturday, July 29, 2017

Dad Did a Great Thing

Sandy Koufax, Claire Smith and Steve Garvey at the 1985 All-Star Game.

Garvey and Smith, 2017.

Claire Smith is the first woman recipient of the Hall of Fame's prestigious J.G. Taylor Spink Award, and Steve Garvey played a role in her career.

From "Claire Smith, a Pioneer in Sports Writing, Is Honored at Cooperstown" at the New York Times:

...her greatest challenge came from the San Diego Padres during their 1984 playoff series against the Chicago Cubs. She was ejected from the clubhouse, then rescued by an empathetic Padres player, Steve Garvey, who fed her quotes from his teammates.

But Smith was no damsel in distress; she had an unbending professionalism about her that wore down even the most stubborn resistance.

“I had a game story to write,” she said in 1984, after she had been pushed out the Padres’ door.

Other pioneers in the sport — including Sandy Koufax, the Jewish Dodgers pitcher who refused to play on Yom Kippur during the World Series; Frank Robinson, the first black manager in the major leagues; and Rachel Robinson, the widow of Jackie Robinson — gave her a standing ovation Saturday.

The most heartfelt moment at the ceremony arrived when Smith introduced Garvey in the audience, thanking him for his help all those years ago.

“I knew it was a very important moment,” Garvey said after the ceremony. “And I knew she was a very deep soul.”

And from her acceptance speech:

Steve Garvey, please stand, just as you did when salvaging the worst day of my career. After I was kicked out of a clubhouse during the 1984 postseason due to gender, Steve came out to the tunnel to assure I would have postgame quotes. When he saw that I was becoming emotional after having been manhandled, he uttered the most important words an athlete ever said to me: "I will stay here as long as you need me to, but remember, you have a job to do."

Beautiful stuff, and a complete surprise to me. Good job, Dad.

1: Claire Smith; 2: Willie Weinbaum,


QuadSevens said...

That is an awesome story! Great guy that Garvey fellow.