During his years with the Cardinals, Garry Templeton seemed ready to join the ranks
of baseball's great shortstops. But away from Busch Stadium
's Astroturf as a San
Diego Padre, his statistics declined. Selected by St. Louis in the first round of
the June 1974 draft, Templeton became the youngest shortstop in modern history (since
1900) to reach the 200-hit plateau (1977) and finished second in the NL batting race.
In 1979 he became the first switch-hitter ever with 100 hits from each side of the
plate in one season. He also achieved a NL first with his third straight triples
championship. In May 1981, Templeton asked to be traded, preferably to San Diego.
That August, he made a series of obscene gestures at fans who booed him for not running
out a ground ball. Templeton was suspended, fined, and he agreed to psychiatric examination.
On February 11, 1982 the erratic Templeton was traded to the Padres for defensive
wizard Ozzie Smith
. Though he set a San Diego record for shortstops with 64 RBI in
1982, earned a Silver Slugger Award in 1984, and was San Diego's Most Valuable Player
in 1985 when he tied for the NL lead in intentional walks (from the eighth spot in
the batting order), Templeton did not approach his St. Louis achievements. He was
hampered by knee and back problems, and by consistently swinging at first pitches
and bad pitches.