Monday, September 26, 2011

#90 Garry Templeton

Card thoughts: Garry with two Rs? Okay, whatever. This card lacks the finish of the other cards in this set. The front is lightly rough to the touch.

The player: Nicknamed "Jumpsteady," Templeton stormed into the National League at the young age of 20 and his early career eerily resembles that of Cubs shortstop phenom Starlin Castro. He had speed (although he was caught stealing a lot), great range and arm (although he committed lots of errors), and could hit for average. He led the league in triples from 1977-1979, and in hits in 1979. Despite his great season in 1979, Templeton was not voted in as a starter for the all-star game. He petulantly refused to go to the game when selected as a reserve, although the quote "If I'm not startin', I'm not departin'" commonly attributed to him was actually said by broadcaster Jack Buck. Templeton started doing heavy drugs in the early 80s which led to some erratic behavior. He told manager Whitey Herzog that he would no longer play day games after night games. In 1981, after being booed for failing to run out a dropped third strike, Templeton made several obscene gestures to the fans and got in a fight with Herzog. 

The Cardinals needed to get rid of the unpopular and unhappy player and engineered a trade with the Padres for future hall-of-famer Ozzie Smith. This was not the lopsided trade it seems today. Smith and Templeton were about equal defensively, but Smith couldn't hit a lick at that time. But Smith learned how to hit with the Cardinals and Templeton's knees started to go while with the Padres and he never regained his early career form as a hitter. However, he did mature and was considered the team leader on the 1984 pennant winning Padres (and is one of their all-time most popular players). The year shown on this card was Templeton's last all-star appearance and his career began to slowly decline soon after. He ended his career in 1991 with the Mets and managed to get 2,000 hits. Here's an excellent fan site for Templeton.

Rear guard: Templeton's homers came from the lead off spot off of the Braves' starter Mickey Mahler and losing pitcher Craig Skok. His second homer was the deciding run in the Cardinals 5-4 win.

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