The Rise and Fall of Garry Templeton with the St. Louis Cardinals

Garry Templeton #1 of the St. Louis Cardinals puts the tag on Larry Bowa #10 of Philadelphia Phillies during an Major League Baseball game circa 1978 at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Templeton played for the Cardinals from 1976-81. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Garry Templeton #1 of the St. Louis Cardinals puts the tag on Larry Bowa #10 of Philadelphia Phillies during an Major League Baseball game circa 1978 at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Templeton played for the Cardinals from 1976-81. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /
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With this week’s 40th anniversary of the Garry Templeton trade to San Diego, let’s look at Templeton’s tumultuous career in St. Louis.

In February 1982, St. Louis Cardinals general manager and field manager Whitey Herzog completed one of the most significant trades in the franchise’s storied history. The trade sent shortstop Garry Templeton and outfielder Sixto Lezcano to San Diego for shortstop Ozzie Smith and pitcher Steve Mura.

Unlike Herzog’s earlier trade in 1980. which sent the popular Ted Simmons to Milwaukee, this trade was embraced by Cardinals fans. Garry Templeton had worn out his welcome in St. Louis after an incident on August 26th, 1981 during a “Ladies Day” game at Busch Stadium.

The “incident” completed the collapse of Garry Templeton’s career in St. Louis, which had actually started a few years earlier. Templeton’s refusal to participate in the 1979 All Star Game began a downward spiral with fans and the franchise which ultimately led to the 1982 trade.

But before I spend too much time on the negatives of Garry Templeton, let’s look at the fact that he was one heck of a fine baseball player. In fact Herzog called Templeton, “the most talented” player he ever saw.

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