A tribute to longtime San Diego Padres’ shortstop Garry Templeton on his 64th birthday.
After several years of struggling to fill the shortstop position, the San Diego Padres finally have an emerging star in Fernando Tatis Jr. Before Tatis, some fans may argue that Khalil Greene was the last great player to man the position, while others will go even further back to Gary Templeton.
The Padres acquired Templeton in December of 1981 in a massive deal that sent Steve Mura and Ozzie Smith to the St. Louis Cardinals. While the Friars did give up a Hall of Famer and one of the best ever to play shortstop in Ozzie Smith, Templeton became a fan favorite in San Diego and gave it his all for the team.
The Texas native was not quite a five-tool player as he did not hit for power, but he was solid at everything else. Templeton was a fantastic contact hitter, had speed, and was also good with his glove as he is the all-time leader in defensive WAR in Padres’ history at 10.3.
The former shortstop won a Silver Slugger Award and made an All-Star Game in his time in San Diego as he is immortalized in the San Diego Padres Hall of Fame. Templeton is second on the all-time Padres’ hits list with 1135, above Hall of Famer Dave Winfield and only behind the great Tony Gwynn.
In 10 seasons with the Padres, Templeton hit .252/.293/.339 with over 100 stolen bases and over 1000 hits. Templeton’s best season with the Friars came in 1985 when he hit .282/.332/.377 with six home runs, 55 RBIs, and 16 stolen bases, tallying a WAR of 3.2.
The Padres were not great in Templeton’s time with the team as they only made the playoffs in 1984, when they reached the World Series. The Texas native was fantastic in that historic playoff run as he hit .333/.412/.400 with two RBIs and a stolen base in the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs.
Templeton kept it going in the World Series against the Detroit Tigers as he was 6-for-19 in five games. The shortstop’s tenure in San Diego ended in 1991 as he was traded away to the New York Mets for Tim Teufel.
Enjoy this video of Templeton in 1984.
Templeton retired after the 1991 season as he enjoyed a very fruitful 16-year career in the major leagues. According to Baseball-Reference, he is a comparable hitter to spectacular players like Orlando Cabrera, Elvis Andrus, Bill Russell, and former MVP, Dick Groat.
The shortstop had a respectable run in San Diego and will forever live in the hearts of San Diego Padres fans as he was a staple of that 1984 team. EVT wishes a very happy birthday to Mr. Templeton and all the best to his friends and family.