Photo by Vince Taroc.

Photo by Vince Taroc.

Baseball iron man Steve Garvey credited his streak of 1,207 consecutive games played to passion, hard work, and "being a good teammate" during the Tuesday morning keynote speech at the Government Fleet Expo and Conference at the San Diego Convention Center.

Garvey, who finished his career with the hometown Padres, said the qualities that made him an all-star ballplayer are easily translatable to other roles including managing fleet vehicles.

"Being a good leader means not being petty," Garvey said. "It means helping others."

Garvey entered professional baseball in 1969, when he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, after graduating from Michigan State University. Garvey recounted the story of his signing, when his mother and father negotiated with Dodgers executives. Garvey's father got the team to bump up their offer from $12,000 to $18,000, and then to $25,000, but his mother told the team that the signing bonus "wasn't enough." After Garvey's mother threatened to pay her son $25,000 to return to school, the team relented and offered $40,000 plus a new car.

After joining the Dodgers as a third baseman, Garvey needed to learn his trade and was eventually offered a chance to play first base. On June 23, 1973, Garvey began his conseccutive games streak. That day, Garvey joined fellow infielders Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, and Ron Cey to form a Dodgers infield that would stay together for nine seasons.

During that time, Garvey suffered many minor injuries, but stayed in the lineup. He told the audience of public sector fleet managers that it's always important to show up and do your job to support your teammates.

By Paul Clinton

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