Former Los Angeles Dodgers great Steve Garvey has been on the campaign trail for decades trying to raise money for ALS, and now, he could be taking his platform to a whole new level.
Garvey told USA TODAY Sports that he is strongly considering running for office in the United States Senate, vying to become the first Republican to win a senate seat in California since 1988.
Garvey, 74, says he’ll officially make a decision in the next two or three weeks.
"I’ve been exploring a run for U.S. Senate," he said in a telephone interview Friday from his home. "I’ve been approached by both sides to run for office. I’m 74. I had a great life. But I’m saddened by what’s happening in our society.
"A place like California needs two voices."
Meanwhile, Garvey will continue to pour his energy into fighting ALS. He first learned of the disease reading "The Lou Gehrig Story" when he was a kid, falling in love with baseball when he rode his dad’s bus carrying the Brooklyn Dodgers to play an exhibition game against the Yankees.
"He became an idol of mine, the Iron Horse, the dedication, the Catholic faith, the family man," said Garvey, who has the longest consecutive playing streak in National League history. "Once I had a voice and accomplished what I had on the field, it was a natural. Being a first baseman, adoring Gehrig, how could I not help?"
The disease hit closer to home when his former teammate on the Michigan State football team, Charlie Wedemeyer, died in 2010 from ALS.
"Those are the moments you understand why you do something," Garvey said, "coming face-to-face with. It becomes personal. It inspires you to go on."
Garvey, MLB’s spokesperson for Lou Gehrig Day on June 2, remains optimistic that there will be a cure in his lifetime. He knows it will take mountains of money to fund the research, that one day will provide answers. Congress passed an act for ALC that sets aside $100 million annually for five years.
"It takes tens of billions of dollars to find the answer with research and awareness," Garvey said. "There’s competition for these disease-related charities. It takes money, and expertise.
"I think the wind is beneath our wings. There are men and women with ALS who are fighting every day, and we’re going to be right beside them.
"I truly believe we are making rapid strides."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Steve Garvey exploring U.S. Senate bid in California