38 years ago Padres & Cardinals agree on Templeton for Smith deal
The Ozzie Smith for Garry Templeton trade was a deal that certainly changed the future of two franchises.
On December 10, 1981, the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres agreed on a six-player trade.
The Padres traded defensive wizard Ozzie Smith, Al Olmsted, and Steve Mura to the Cardinals for offensive shortstop Garry Templeton, Sixto Lezcano, and Luis DeLeon. The centerpieces of the deal would be Ozzie Smith and Garry Templeton though Lezcano was viewed as a decent prospect.
The primary issue was that Ozzie Smith had a no-trade clause in his contract and demanded more than twice his salary to waive it. The two sides went back and forth, and finally, on February 11, 1982, the trade was finalized.
The San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals agreed on a trade of two shortstops with different attributes. Garry Templeton was known as a great hitter, while Ozzie Smith was revered for his glovework and trademark backflip.
Drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round (14th pick) of the 1975 draft, it only took Templeton two years to reach the majors as he made his professional debut on August 9, 1976. He ended up hitting .291 that year in 213 at-bats. Very impressive for a 20-year-old.
In his six seasons in Cardinal red, Templeton hit .305, slugged 25 home runs, and drove in 281 runs. He was regarded as an offensive shortstop at a time where the position traditionally offered nothing in terms of hitting.
He is probably most commonly known for his comments about not showing up to play the 1979 All-Star game (which he was elected as a reserve). He had better numbers than Dave Concepcion and Larry Bowa, who were selected as starters. Templeton openly stated: “If I ain’t startin. I ain’t departin”. He did not play that year in the all-star game and was only elected to one more Mid-Season Classic (1985 with Padres).
The Padres were in the middle of a contract dispute with Ozzie Smith and had grown tired of him wanting more money. Templeton had worn out his welcome in St. Louis after saluting fans in the stands with a rude gesture (after not running out a ground ball) in late August 1981. The Cardinals’ management grew tired of his antics and lousy attitude.
Garry “Tempy” Templeton was beloved by the fans because of his hard-nosed attitude and the offensive presence he provided to the lineup. A switch-hitting shortstop with a decent bat is what I will always remember. The confidence he brought to the team also comes to mind. He also never really displayed that bad attitude that plagued him in St. Louis while a Padre. He, for the most part, was relatively drama-free. Knee problems kept him from genuinely showing his great athleticism on a nightly basis. He did play in 141 games or more in seven out of his ten years, though in the later years, he never really seemed healthy.
Ozzie Smith went on to be a Cardinal mainstay for the next 15 years. He went on to win 11 straight gold gloves for the team and was nominated to the all-star game 14 times. He will go down as one of the best defensive shortstops in the game’s history.
Templeton showed flashes of dominance, but in the end, he never hit as he did for the Red Birds. Padre fans still loved him, though. Even when he was dealt with the New York Mets for Tim Teufel on May 31, 1991, fans still cheered for him. He finished out the year with the Mets but retired at the end of the season at age 36.
Garry Templeton amassed 4,512 at-bats as a Padre with a .252/.325/.418 batting line. He totaled 43 home runs and drove in 427 runners while stealing 101 bases. The numbers really don’t do it justice, as that was a different era of the game. He was indeed a solid shortstop for that time. He wasn’t fantastic by any means, but he was our starting shortstop for ten straight years. For ten years, Padres fans took comfort in knowing “Tempy” was there. Padres fans long for that comfort with the modern team. Hopefully, one day, the San Diego Padres will be lucky enough to have a Garry Templeton plug the shortstop hole for ten years. Lucky indeed.
James was born and raised in America’s Finest City. He is a passionate baseball fan with even more passion towards his hometown Padres. Editor-In-Chief of EastVillageTimes.com. Always striving to bring you the highest quality in San Diego Sports News. Original content, with original ideas, that’s our motto. Enjoy.
Sawadee Khop from Phuket…
One statistic that you failed to mention is that Tempe was the first and remains one of only two players to ever get 100 hits from each side of the plate in a single season. Although I do not know the correct name for the play or how to score it, Tempe still leads the world for fielding the ball, floating to and stepping on second then throwing to first with his absolute cannon of an arm to complete a double play. He was the Padre team captain and was most often smiling as a Padre. It was easy to see that he was having fun. This article suggests his defensive play was only adequate, but he was so smooth and accurate that I suggest he was, indeed, fantastic. Easily in the top 5 or 10 fielding shortstops playing during the era of the apex of his career. But I was also lucky enough to be a season ticket holder and was able to watch Ozzie Smith play from his rookie year (Thank you Alvin Dark, and sorry Billy Almond). Ozzie Smith was the greatest shortstop in my lifetime, perhaps in baseball history.