Joe Garvey, 81, a Greyhound bus driver who transported the Dodgers to and from spring training games in Florida for 25 years and whose son, Steve, became first a batboy and later an All-Star first baseman for the team, died Friday at a hospice in Palm Desert. He had Parkinson's disease, cancer and diabetes, Steve said.
A native of Glen Cove, N.Y., the elder Garvey grew up a fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers, influenced by his father, who was a policeman in Brooklyn. He played high school football and baseball, then semipro football.
After serving in the Navy during World War II, Garvey married and with his wife, Millie, moved to Tampa, Fla., in 1948. He started working for Greyhound in 1955.
In March 1956 he was hired to drive a charter bus from the Tampa air- port, where the Dodgers had flown from their base in Vero Beach, and take them to a game in St. Petersburg. The team was fresh off its World Series victory over the New York Yankees and featured such stars as Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Duke Snider, Don Newcombe and Johnny Podres.
Along for the ride was 7-year-old Steve, who got to take a day off from school to accompany his father on the job. From that introduction, Steve became a Dodger batboy and eventually a first baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres.
The Dodgers began requesting Joe Garvey as their bus driver for games on the west coast of Florida, and he drove for the team until 1981. That year he retired, and in 1984 he and Millie moved to California to be near Steve, their only child.
For several years Joe worked as an usher and greeter for the minor league Lake Elsinore Storm. "He never lost his love for baseball," Steve said.