I sat watching some of the Yankees-Dodgers game on June 26th, as Tommy Lasorda and Reggie Jackson made an appearance in the broadcast booth. They spoke of the history of the two teams and their battles in the World Series in 77, 78 and 81. They traded barbs (mostly from Lasorda). One of the broadcasters mentioned Garvey, Lopes, Russell and Cey as the great Dodger infield of the 1970's and how they stayed together for "nine years."
1973 Topps Ron Cey
1973 Topps Lopes
How many such infields have stuck together for that long in the Marvin Miller era? We can all name the infields for our favorite teams (or some team that won the World Series), but how many have enjoyed that much longevity and stability? It is fun to honor the players of the past, but we should also learn from their example. While the Garvey-Lopes-Russell-Cey combination may be unique in history, it is less likely to be repeated in the Marvin Miller era without a tremendous expenditure of money.
1983 Topps Garvey
Marvin Miller apologists will be quick to point out that those four stuck together even after the end of free agency, while ignoring the fact that the full effects of free agency took years to percolate through baseball (and beyond). Much of the damage was not done until the anit-collusion awards of the late 1980's. Rome was not built in a day and baseball was not destroyed in a day either.
1986 Topps Russell
See these blogs for more on these players.