Steve Garvey, Ex-MLB Star, Lags in California Senate Race Against Adam Schiff

Former MLB icon Garvey embarks on political journey.

by Nouman Rasool
Steve Garvey, Ex-MLB Star, Lags in California Senate Race Against Adam Schiff
© Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

As the November US elections inch closer, the political landscape is abuzz with the challenging campaign of former MLB pitcher Steve Garvey. His bid to become the first Republican to clinch a Senate seat in California since 1988 is proving to be a formidable endeavor.

Recent polls, notably from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), show Garvey trailing behind his Democratic counterpart, Adam Schiff, by a significant margin. Schiff, a seasoned congressman since 2001 and a notable figure in the 2019 impeachment proceedings against former President Donald Trump, holds a 24% approval rating, while Garvey lags with 18%.

Garvey's Baseball Legacy

Garvey, a Florida native who made California his home, rose to fame with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1969. His illustrious baseball career, highlighted by winning the 1975 NL MVP Award, 272 home runs, and 1308 RBIs, has made him a household name in the state.

Notably, his tenure with the Dodgers and the San Diego Padres earned him ten All-Star distinctions and four Gold Gloves, cementing his legacy in the sport. Since hanging up his cleats in 1987, Garvey has not been idle. He has ventured into philanthropy, acting, and business, founding Garvey Management Group in the 1990s.

Despite this, his political journey is not without its challenges. In a state that leans heavily Democratic, aligning with the Republican Party, especially in the era of Donald Trump, requires a delicate balance. Garvey's approach seems to be one of cautious distancing from Trump, a strategy that might play well in the liberal landscape of California.

The upcoming election, scheduled for November 5, 2024, is not just a test for Garvey but also a critical juncture for the Democrats. With Schiff leading the charge, other prominent figures like Barbara Lee and Katie Porter are also in the fray, potentially dividing the progressive vote.

The seat, previously held by the late Senator Dianne Feinstein, is crucial for both parties. Garvey's fame and recognition, akin to the reverence Cincinnati Reds fans hold for Pete Rose or Johnny Bench, might not be enough in the political arena.

At 75, his willingness to work across party lines and his widespread recognition across California are significant assets. However, the recent polls indicate that winning this seat will be an uphill battle for the baseball legend.

The outcome of this election will be a testament to whether Garvey's sports fame can translate into political success in a state known for its strong Democratic leanings.