Steve Garvey officially became a former Los Angeles Dodger yesterday.
Nine teams selected the 33-year-old first baseman during major league baseball's seventh annual free agent reentry draft, held in a midtown New York hotel. But the Dodgers, the team Garvey first joined as a 7-year-old bat boy, did not select him.
"These (last) couple of days have been a period of emotional reflection for Steve," Jerry Kapstein said after Garvey referred all calls to his agent. Garvey spent yesterday filming a documentary on the 1984 Olympics called, coincidentally, "The Road to Los Angeles."
Garvey was drafted by San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston and Pittsburgh in the National League and Chicago, Texas, Seattle and the New York Yankees in the American League.
"We've established a policy not to retain the rights of players we haven't come to terms with," said Al Campanis, Dodgers vice president. The Dodgers, along with the Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins, did not participate in yesterday's draft.
Of the 41 players in the draft, Seattle left-hander Floyd Bannister and Dodgers reliever Terry Forster were the most popular, each being drafted by 16 teams. Bob Shirley, a Cincinnati left-hander, was chosen by 12.
The Baltimore Orioles selected seven players: Bannister, California designated hitter Don Baylor, Seattle outfielder Al Cowens, Chicago outfielder Steve Kemp, Milwaukee reliever Bob McClure, New York Mets' catcher Ron Hodges and Shirley.
Outfielder John Lowenstein and catcher Joe Nolan, the two Orioles in the draft, each were chosen by six teams. Lowenstein was selected by Toronto, Kansas City, Milwaukee, San Francisco, Texas and Pittsburgh, and Nolan by Texas, the Mets, Houston, Philadelphia, St. Louis and San Francisco. The Orioles have retained negotiating rights to both and could re-sign them.
The Pittsburgh Pirates chose 22 players, more than any other team. Any player selected by fewer than four teams is free to negotiate with any team.
Garvey, who has a .302 career average, reportedly is seeking a five-year contract for an estimated $7 million. The Dodgers offered a three-year, $3.5 million deal.
"Both sides did show quite a bit of flexibility towards the end," said Kapstein. "But when it was over, there was no agreement." Garvey hit .282 with 16 home runs and 86 RBI in 1982. And, he has played 1,107 consecutive games, 10 short of Billy Williams' NL record. If he signs with an AL team, he cannot break that record.
"The streak is significant," Kapstein admitted.
The Padres are interested in keeping Garvey in California. "Sure, we'd like to have Steve, but within reason," said Jack McKeon, their vice president. "We're not going to shoot the moon. If we do sign him, it could easily bring a substantial number of Dodger fans down the coast."
Bannister, 27, was 12-13 with a league-leading 209 strikeouts in 1982. He was one of three A-ranked free agents whose former teams must be compensated with both an amateur draft choice and a professional player from a pool created for the draft. The other A-ranked free agents were Lowenstein and Kemp, who was chosen by seven teams in addition to the Orioles.
New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said Bannister "may be a pitcher just built for the Yankees and Yankee Stadium."