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Dodgers' Steve Garvey is battling prostate cancer, has surgery

February 22, 2013|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Steve Garvey, shown here in 2011, is battling prostate cancer.
Steve Garvey, shown here in 2011, is battling prostate cancer. (Christina House / For The…)

This post has been corrected.

Former Dodgers first base great Steve Garvey, a 10-time All-Star and 1974 National League MVP, is battling prostate cancer.

Garvey said that his prostate was removed at UCLA Medical Center in October after his cancer was diagnosed the previous month and that he now hopes to devote a considerable amount of his time to prostate cancer awareness.

Garvey, 64, made the announcement in a press release describing several personal baseball items – including his MVP trophy – that he is putting up for auction. He said 70% of the proceeds would go toward prostate cancer awareness.

“I was thrown a pretty good curveball by God,” Garvey told The Times’ Dylan Hernandez. “I felt I was being challenged to work for prostate awareness for men and the women who love them.”

He said his father was diagnosed with prostate cancer at 64, but after treatment lived to be 83. Garvey said he has been on the UCLA board of neurosurgery for eight or nine years and knew urology department chairman Dr. Mark Litwin, who performed his operation.

Garvey said he couldn’t declare that he was out of the woods yet with his cancer, “but you want to be cautiously optimistic.”

Garvey was a beloved figure during 13 seasons with the Dodgers, and,  along with Davey Lopes, Bill Russell and Ron Cey, part of the most enduring infield in baseball history.

Garvey was fired by then-owner Frank McCourt from his job in community relations and marketing for the Dodgers in 2011 after spending several months campaigning to purchase the financially struggling club.

Garvey said he has been impressed by the direction of the franchise under the Guggenheim Baseball Group.

“I think they’ve made great strides,” he said. “I wish them all the well. They said  they were going to make an investment and they are. They are investing in building the infrastructure of the organization again.”

Other items Garvey will offer at the SCP Auctions event beginning April 10 include his 1981 World Series ring, his NL championship rings from 1977 and 1978, his 1974 Gold Glove award, his 1974 All-Star game MVP trophy and the bat he used to hit the 1984 walk-off homer for the Padres in Game 4 of the NL championship series.

“I’m making sure to take some beautiful pictures of each one,” he said.

Garvey said he is retaining some personal keepsakes to pass on to his children. His son Ryan, an outfielder with the Rockies, is scheduled to report to their minor league camp next week.

An earlier version of this post said Garvey has been on the UCLA board of neurology, instead of neurosurgery.

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