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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Garry Templeton

Eligible in 1997

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 28, 2007 at 06:44 PM | 42 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 28, 2007 at 06:49 PM (#2319698)
By 1980, there was a HOF buzz around him, but I decided to swat that bee instead.
   2. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 28, 2007 at 06:54 PM (#2319710)
:-D
   3. John DiFool2 Posted: March 29, 2007 at 02:04 AM (#2319989)
One of the more notorious flameouts in baseball history. Perhaps he wasn't ever as good as we
all thought he was (mainly because he never walked), maybe it was some nose candy or something.
I still remember all the hubbub over his 100 hits/both ways year.
   4. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 29, 2007 at 01:25 PM (#2320145)
John (post 4):

He had the ability to be legitimately special. He didn't "want" to for lack of a better explanation. I think the fact that he could keep a job for another dozen years without really exerting himself is testimony to the talent base that existed.

Just as there are players who make themselves average or good by sheer force of will there exists the counterpart. The "drifters" who meander through a major league career because they can and it beats working at Sears.
   5. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 29, 2007 at 01:29 PM (#2320147)
If I ain't startin', I ain't departin'.
   6. CraigK Posted: March 29, 2007 at 01:35 PM (#2320150)
Thanks for Ozzie, Garry.
   7. DL from MN Posted: March 29, 2007 at 01:54 PM (#2320152)
Larry: Sears sucks, Crash. Boy, I once worked there. Sold Lady Kenmores.
   8. DL from MN Posted: March 29, 2007 at 01:55 PM (#2320153)
Larry: Sears sucks, Crash. Boy, I once worked there. Sold Lady Kenmores.
   9. BDC Posted: March 29, 2007 at 02:23 PM (#2320167)
I wonder, though: aside from the evidence of his being a bit of a jerk when young, do we actually know that Templeton frittered away a career? His record looks a bit like Juan Samuel's -- toolsy, impatient hitter, who had some gaudy stats when young and nothing much after his mid-20s, though Templeton had the glove to stay around much longer as a regular. We don't think of Samuel as a "drifter," but he is a nice guy, good baseball man, good coach, respected if not adulated in the game; while Templeton's a jerk. But maybe Templeton got everything out of his talent that he was ever going to get.

George Foster is another who used to get the rap of letting his talent go to seed, but maybe people are equally wrong about Foster. It's just hard to tell from the outside.
   10. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: March 29, 2007 at 02:27 PM (#2320171)
I think he still has the "record" for fewest walks in a season with 200 hits

200/15 in 1977

he also had 211/18 in 79
   11. John DiFool2 Posted: March 29, 2007 at 03:02 PM (#2320197)
#11: I guess it's possible that the league pitchers figured out how to pitch him.

Foster had the double whammy of moving to a poor hitter's park at the precise time
when he started his decline phase. Not quite the same thing; his case is more
common than Temp's, who declined when he should have been improving.
   12. Catfish326 Posted: March 29, 2007 at 03:11 PM (#2320201)
As to his 100 hits from both sides, I've always wondered how he faced enough lefthanders to get his 100 from the right side of the plate. Does anyone have his ABs-hits from each side? Did he sometimes hit righty v. a righty pitcher, in order to get his 100-100? Did he just mash the Jesus out of the ball v. lefties?
   13. DavidFoss Posted: March 29, 2007 at 03:13 PM (#2320203)
Foster had the double whammy of moving to a poor hitter's park at the precise time
when he started his decline phase. Not quite the same thing; his case is more
common than Temp's, who declined when he should have been improving.


Even with park adjustments, Fosters decline in 1982-83 was quite precipitous... from a string of 130-165 OPS+ seasons to 90 & 95. baseballlibrary.com says there was a hole in his swing -- that he couldn't lay off breaking balls in the dirt. Seems like an odd time for pitchers to figure something like that out... that seems like thats the first thing a pitcher would try (or even discover by accident).
   14. JPWF13 Posted: March 29, 2007 at 03:26 PM (#2320218)
Even with park adjustments, Fosters decline in 1982-83 was quite precipitous... from a string of 130-165 OPS+ seasons to 90 & 95.


Then he went up to 111 & 122 in 84/85 (ages 35 & 36) arguably where he "should" have been at thiose ages- so really the problem was his age 33 & 34 seasons-
draw a straight line from 1981 to 1985 and Met fans wouldn't have hated him...

Looking at his 84/85 seasons and his "collapse" in 1982 looks more like just back to back bad years- that happens some times.
   15. BDC Posted: March 29, 2007 at 03:30 PM (#2320222)
Also going by Retrosheet, Willie Wilson in 1980 must have had at least one hit as a RH batter against a RHP; he's listed with only 99 against LHP that year.
   16. Catfish326 Posted: March 29, 2007 at 03:31 PM (#2320224)
He did cheat. I just read:

"The switch hitter batted strictly right-handed in his last nine games to aid his own cause in setting the record."
   17. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: March 29, 2007 at 03:44 PM (#2320228)
Seems like an odd time for pitchers to figure something like that out... that seems like thats the first thing a pitcher would try (or even discover by accident).

This seems like it should be an eyes, injuries, or reflexes issue.

Scenario 1: his eyesight deteriorated or changed, and he didn't figure it out or address it for a year or two. But once he changed his prescription he resumed the normal shape of his decline. (Didn't he wear glasses in his later years?)

Scenario 2: he had some kind of nagging back, wrist, or leg injury that sapped his ability to drive the ball or to rotate through the ball or generate bat speed. Maybe he didn't reveal it, and by the time it healed, two years had passed. Strained ligaments in his wrist or something like that?

Scearnio 3: He had some other sort of issue that could slow down his response times: insomnia, depression, a persistent infection, a messy divorce. We'd probably never know.

If he was a Milwaukee guy, I'd just ask Harveys! Then again, he might know anyway.
   18. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 29, 2007 at 03:50 PM (#2320237)
IIRC, I think Foster was having some financial difficulties in one of his off seasons.
   19. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 29, 2007 at 04:03 PM (#2320245)
John is quite correct. Before agreeing to join the Mets Frank Cashen agreed to have NY give Foster a 1 Million interest free loan.
   20. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 29, 2007 at 04:37 PM (#2320267)
If he was a Milwaukee guy, I'd just ask Harveys! Then again, he might know anyway.


John is quite correct. Before agreeing to join the Mets Frank Cashen agreed to have NY give Foster a 1 Million interest free loan.


I'm of the opinion that if you have any question, it doesn't hurt to ask Harvey. :-)
   21. jingoist Posted: March 29, 2007 at 05:35 PM (#2320300)
I'm of the opinion that if you have any question, it doesn't hurt to ask Harvey. :-)

A Mr. G. Bush asks of Harveys, "What should I do about Iraq?"
   22. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 29, 2007 at 07:03 PM (#2320356)
Yeah, that's what a BBTF thread needs: politics. ;-)
   23. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: March 29, 2007 at 07:34 PM (#2320373)
Yeah, that's what a BBTF thread needs: politics. ;-)

Good point, maybe we should switch topics here. Harveys, is there a God?
   24. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 29, 2007 at 07:56 PM (#2320388)
Good point, maybe we should switch topics here. Harveys, is there a God?


Maybe politics isn't so bad after all. ;-)
   25. tfbg9 Posted: March 29, 2007 at 08:00 PM (#2320392)
Bill James describes an interview of Gary in one of the Historical Abtracts, I believe, where the reporter asked a young Gary what he felt he needed to work on to improve his all-around game. Gary said, in effect, "nothing, I'm already as good as I need to be, I don't need to work hard to get better in any facet of my game".
   26. jingoist Posted: March 29, 2007 at 08:01 PM (#2320397)
Good point, maybe we should switch topics here. Harveys, is there a God?

Mr. G. Bush has another question of Harveys; "What does God want me to do about Irag?"
   27. KJOK Posted: March 30, 2007 at 10:43 PM (#2321115)
Templeton's a bit of a puzzle, but not sure it's really fair to call him 'a jerk'. He had some mental health issues while with the Cardinals, but I don't recall him ever having any issues with teammates, fans, or management in San Diego. As a matter of fact, in 1984 I remember him getting lots of praise for his leadership?!

Templeton came up with great 'tools', he hit similar to Vlad Guerrero, but with less power. He came up when the turf in St. Louis was "rock hard" and in need of replacing, and that certainly helped his line-drive/ground ball style of hitting. Then he went to San Diego, which may have had one of the softer infields around, and was a generally tougher place to hit in.
   28. OCF Posted: March 30, 2007 at 11:16 PM (#2321129)
I'm with BDC in #11 and KJOK in #30 in that I don't want to read his career as some sort of fable or moral lesson about the squandering of talent. He did have behavioral problems in St. Louis (including rudeness towards fans) - KJOK refers to that as mental health issues, which is probably as good a description as any. His behavior was the driving motivation behind the trade for Ozzie - a trade which every Cardinal fan I knew at the time regarded as a talent loss, regrettable, but possibly needed to get rid of a troublemaker. The evidence also suggests that he passed through that episode and became a stable, mature adult. John DiFool in #4 casually refers to "nose candy": that's flat wrong, as far as I know. One can never say that one truly knows the private habits of any public figure - it's hard enough to know the private habits of one's own family and freinds - but there was never any indication that Templeton had a substance abuse problem.

Templeton peaked early, in his early 20's. Hundreds of ballplayers have peaked early, for dozens of different reasons; Templeton's career arc is far from unique. Once you examine it carefully with the tools we have, making appropriate allowances for the tremendous number of outs he was making, his peak turns out not to have been so high, after all. As KJOK mentioned, a portion of his apparent decline was a park illusion.

Sure, it would have been nice if he'd grown up earlier than he did. But maybe he had the career that he could have had.
   29. salvomania Posted: March 31, 2007 at 12:11 AM (#2321159)
For the last 10 years or so, Templeton's been managing: 4 years at AAA Salt Lake City, and then stints with a couple independent league teams.

So the game must still be in him.
   30. Paul Wendt Posted: March 31, 2007 at 03:17 PM (#2321300)
Well said, OCF.
He played 87-91% of team games in seven of nine full seasons with San Diego, about 80% and 70% in the other two. In 1977-81, five full seasons with St Louis, he played roughly 95-95-95-75-75% of team games. Did he suffer some injury in '80-81?

In 1984 he started getting intentional walks, at rate greater than his previous all-walks rate. That because SD gave up on him as an offensive force and dropped him to 8 in the batting order. He batted 3rd, mainly 6th, 8th during his first three seasons there.
   31. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: March 31, 2007 at 03:51 PM (#2321306)
Oddly enough, I was reading James's comment on Buckner in the NHBA, and int it he makes a passing comment about how Templeton was someone who just coasted on talent and never worked to develop it further. I don't know if I agree with him or not (i would tend not to), but since we were talking about Garry it seemed worth mentioning.
   32. thok Posted: April 03, 2007 at 03:47 AM (#2323324)
For some reason when reading this thread, I confused Garry Templeton with Terry Pendleton. For two players with relatively similar names and who had careers not that far apart, they actually have fairly similar cases (Terry is a better bat but at third base to Gary's shortstop.) Both WS and WARP3 like Garry just a bit more for career. Terry, of course, has the MVP he stole from Bonds.
   33. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: April 03, 2007 at 04:07 AM (#2323337)
I'd probably have given that '91 NL MVP to a different Barry: the one in Cincinnati. He had a 143 OPS+, should have won the NL Gold Glove at shortstop, and ran the bases well. I know he only played 123 games, but I think he accumulated as much value in those 123 as Bonds did in 30 more, IMO.
   34. KJOK Posted: April 03, 2007 at 06:39 AM (#2323384)
Did he suffer some injury in '80-81?

In 1980, there was I think some injury that kept him out for a little while.

In 1981, there was of course the strike, then the 'incident' on August 26th, where Templeton was suspended indefinitely and fined $5,000 for making obscene gestures (crotch-grabbing and bird-flipping) after fans booed him for his failure to run to first after a dropped 3rd strike. Herzog literally pulled him into the dugout, and the two apparently almost came to blows.

Templeton was subsequently admitted to a hospital for psychiatric examination.

For another take on the Herzog-Templeton relationship, go here:
Herzon on Templeton
   35. baudib Posted: April 03, 2007 at 06:48 AM (#2323385)
An interesting comp for Templeton is Tony Fernandez. Fernandez was something of a sensation, much like Templeton. When he came up, he drew comparisons to Ozzie Smith with the glove and Rod Carew at the bat. He was neither, but you can see where the comparisons came from.
   36. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: April 04, 2007 at 05:25 PM (#2324584)
I'd probably have given that '91 NL MVP to a different Barry: the one in Cincinnati. He had a 143 OPS+, should have won the NL Gold Glove at shortstop, and ran the bases well. I know he only played 123 games, but I think he accumulated as much value in those 123 as Bonds did in 30 more, IMO.

Yeah, well we all know how you feel about Cincinnati shortstops. Can we get a neutral opinion? :-)
   37. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: April 05, 2007 at 06:16 PM (#2326060)
hahahahah, I forgot that Larkin succeeded Concepción! Wow, they really had quite a run there....
   38. Traderdave Posted: April 05, 2007 at 07:31 PM (#2326250)
I recall an interview with Foster saying the lack of protection in the Mets lineup was the cause of his suckitude those 2 years. The analogy he used was going from an automatic transmissions to a stickshift; he saw a lot of fastballs with Cincy, nary a one in NY.
   39. BDC Posted: April 11, 2007 at 09:18 PM (#2332627)
For the record here, I have recently started reading Dick Williams's 1990 memoir No More Mr Nice Guy. Nearly every other sentence in that book is something like "these prima donnas today" and "these modern guys who keep dogging it" ... but Williams loved Templeton, saw him as a dedicated gamer who played through injuries, saw his early problems in St Louis as due to racist fans. Williams is probably less inhibited about calling out lazy and selfish ballplayers than any other manager whose memoirs I've ever read. Though one has to take everything he says with a shakerful of salt, it does tend to suggest that the San Diego years were really good ones for Templeton in terms of attitude and team play.

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