Ron Cey, Dodgers third baseman from 1973-82 and 1981 co-World Series MVP, chatted with fans online Tuesday. He talked about his career highlights, the '81 championship team and upcoming reunion, and the current Dodgers team.
Ron Cey: Hello, everyone. Welcome to the chat. Thanks for signing on. I'm ready to field all your questions.
1baddesire: What memories do you recall about your first game with the Dodgers?
Cey: My very first game was at Dodger Stadium vs. the San Francisco Giants, in which I got my very first hit, then had another, and we won in extra innings. I was very pleased to contribute in my very first game to what ended up being a Dodgers victory.
ceyhayjay: When you look at the list of World Series MVPs, 1981 always stands out. Were you glad you were able to share that award with two great teammates?
Cey: I was probably more thrilled with the fact that we had won the championship, but certainly to share that award with my teammates was icing on the cake.
Base_Ball: Do you think another infield will ever work together for as long as you, Bill Russell, Davey Lopes and Steve Garvey did?
Cey: No, simply because the structure of the game today, because players don't stay in one place as long as they used to, because of contracts. It is not to say that individuals couldn't perform individually, as well as have the team success we did, but if you put our infield in today's game, and had the same success that we did individually and as a team, you couldn't keep our infield together. Because every infielder was an All-Star. You could see the salary structure would be over the top.
ceyhayjay: You had a country music record, didn't you?
Cey: Actually, it wasn't a country album. It was a baseball jingle recorded in 1976. It was a 45 with two songs. One called "One Game at a Time" and the other "Playing the Third Base Bag." It was done just for fun. It wasn't a ballad. Anyone who thought I was going to pursue a singing career ... well, obviously I was not a candidate for "American Idol."
Base_Ball_4: Was the 1981 championship team the best one on which you played? Or was there another year where you felt the team may have been better?
Cey: I felt that the '81 team was very unique, and a team of destiny, because we had five outfielders during their career that were All-Stars. All four infielders were multiple All-Stars, one catcher that became an All-Star, plus seven pitchers that were or became All-Stars. Also, of those pitchers, there were three Rookies of the Year, and at least three were Cy Young Award winners. That's why it was such a unique thing, the '81 team. The '77 team was probably the most talented even though we won 102 games and went to the World Series in 1984, the '77 team was a stronger team. But the '81 team accomplished the ultimate goal.
scalino: When you look at the current Dodgers team, which players do you enjoy watching the most?
Cey: I think from a career standpoint, Jeff Kent, for me, is probably the most consistent performer that we've had for a few years. The acquisition of Nomar Garciaparra, and his early success, is another player that I think fits very well into our team, even though he is playing a new position. The emergence of Russell Martin recently, and Andre Ethier and Willy Aybar have played very well and I think that gives Dodgers fans a great deal of optimism for not only this year, but the immediate future.
Ben_Osborne: Ron, will September be the first time all the guys from the '81 team are back together? How excited are you to see your ex-teammates?
Cey: I was very pleased to hear that the 2006 season was going to be a year that the '81 team was going to be recognized and honored through the regular season. We have not had a reunion of that championship team, together in one place, since we won the championship, so it will be a very gratifying evening to have all the players together and a great event for our terrific Dodgers fans.
ceyhayjay: Who was the toughest pitcher you ever faced?
Cey: The toughest pitcher for me was a relief pitcher by the name of Kent Tekulve. He was a submarine pitcher, 6-foot-5, lanky, and threw at a very difficult angle from down around his ankles, much more submarine-like than anyone pitching in today's game. Although I only faced him 15 or 20 times in my career, I really never got comfortable with his delivery.
chris_rehnke: Other than your co-MVP in '81, what was your greatest moment in your years with the Dodgers?
Cey: I don't know if I had a moment that compares with winning a World Championship. I was fortunate to have many moments during my career that were done over time, rather than in a moment. Being a member of baseball's first 30-home run foursome, being a part of a longest-running infield in Major League history, playing in six All-Star games -- and being the elected starter in three of those games, playing in four World Series, and having one other third baseman (that I know of) in Major League history that played in more. ranking in the top 10 in 10 categories or more for third basemen. The culmination of all of those things over a long period of time, all made for wonderful moments and memories
dianeminso: You and the rest of the famous infield were developed through the Dodgers farm system. Do you think that the Dodgers have focused too much on free agents and not player development in recent years?
Cey: The game has changed to a point where you can't nurture and develop the farm system as what was done years ago. It is all about winning today, and not worrying as much about the future.
Base_Ball_2: How do you feel about the direction the club is headed?
Cey: This year, I have been more optimistic about our chances than I have in recent years. I believe Ned Colletti has done a good job bringing new players into our system this year, which means, essentially, four new everyday eight players. Within that, we have potentially more offense and team speed, and maybe the best acquisition early was Danys Baez, because of the uncertain status of Eric Gagne.
Cey: Thanks everyone for logging on today. It was great chatting with you. See you out at the stadium.