Garry Templeton

Definitely an interesting man.

Josh over at Jorge Says No! has an awesome interview with Garry Templeton, talking about managing, his playing career, and Hideki Irabu and Jose Lima (always good subjects). Go check it out. Anyway, I didn’t know much about Templeton, and I looked it up.

Born on March 24, 1956, Garry Lewis Templeton was the opposite of the epitome of the usual 1970’s shortstop. Most of the shortstops of the era played great defense but contributed little offensively. Templeton, however, could hit (and play pretty well defensively). From 1977-1979, he led the league in triples, and during his first six seasons (all in St. Louis), he always hit near .300. He also stole close to 30 bases a season (but he did get thrown out quite a bit). A solid player, but he had his issues.

He made an All-Star in his first full season in 1977, and he made another one in 1979. However, in 1979, he caused a little stir. Though he had better numbers than any other NL shortstop, he wasn’t elected to be a starter in the game, but he was asked to be a reserve. Templeton responded somewhat infamously, “If I ain’t a startin’, I ain’t a departin’.” Already not pleasing fans, he made matters worse late in 1981. If you know what’s good for you in St. Louis, you don’t piss off the fans, but 1981 was rough for Templeton. When a heckler gave him more grief than he could stand, he flicked him off. The following off-season, he was traded for light-hitting shortstop Ozzie Smith.

Though not a fan-favorite in St. Louis, Templeton became a much beloved Padre even though his statistics suffered. Unfortunately for Templeton, Smith decided to hit (well, at least for him and for a shortstop). At the same time, Templeton began suffering knee injuries that diminished his hitting and stealing abilities. He stayed in San Diego until he was traded to the Mets in 1991 in what would be his last season.

As you have read in Josh’s interview, he now manages the Long Beach Armada.


One Response to “Garry Templeton”

  1. Ron Rollins Says:

    He did flip them the bird, and he was wrong to do so.

    But the fans had no reason to be on him. They were making racist comments towards him, and he responded.

    Beyond not wanting to go to the All-Star game, that was the only negative I heard about him.

    Supposedly he had an attitude, but so did Pete Rose, and no one cared about that.

    He was a black man speaking his mind in the 70's in St Louis, and that was an issue.

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