Pitcher Don Sutton and first baseman Steve Garvey of the Los Angeles Dodgers staged a pre-game locker-room fight yesterday apparently over a recent newspaper story in The Washington Post in which Sutton bad-mouthed Garvey.
Neither player won the fight, but the Dodgers beat the New York Mets, 5-4.
Several days ago the pitching ace of the Dodgers was quoted as saying that Garvey was more interested in his off-the-field image than in his performance) and that right fielder Reggie Smoth, not Garvey, was the team leader and should have been named the team's Most Valuable Player last year.
Part of the story, written by Thomas Boswell, quoted Sutton as saying. "All you hear about on our team is Steve Garvey the All-American boy. But Reggie Smith was the real MVP. We all know it . . . (Smith) has carried us the last two years.He is not a facade. He does not have the Madison Avenue image."
The fireworks between Sutton and Garvey took place directly in front of Sutton's locker after Garvey came over to speak to the Dodger right-hander. They conversed in low tones for two minutes and seemed to be getting the matter settled. Suddenly Sutton leaped at Garvey and flung him against a row of lockers along the opposit wall.
The two players went down heavily and were clawing at one another, trying ineffectively to land punches. Immediately, a number of the other Dodgers, including Smith, Rick Monday, Davey Lopes and Bill Russell, tried to pry them apart.
It took more than two minutes before they were able to pry the combatants apart, after which Dodgers coach Preston Gomez and General Manager Al Campanis, who had witnessed the entire affair, led Garvey into the trainer's room. Sutton walked off to the other end of the clubhouse.
Garvey appeared groggy after the episode.
"I don't think these things should come out like this in the public. If someone has something to say, they should say it to my face Garvey. "I'm only human. I have always tried to set an example for the Dodgers both on and off the field but when someone says something about my family . . . that's pushing me too far. This is the first time in my career something like this has happened."
Gavey went on to say that he confronted Sutton about the story and its validity andthat the pitcher admitted his quotes were true. Then, Sutton apparently made a reference to Garvey's family and the two went at it. After the game , Garvey sported numerous scratches and cuts on his face and a bloodshot eye. Sutton had a large bruise on his cheek.