Friday, January 23, 2009

Jumpsteady, the nickname

Jumpsteady was Garry Templeton's nickname in his early Cardinal days. It didn't really stick around though and was pretty much forgotten when Garry played in San Diego, not too sure why, did Tempy drop it, or people just didn't identify him with it, or maybe it was left back as part on his controversial St.Louis chaotic episode? Maybe I'll get to ask the man someday.

I thought it was a pretty cool nickname though, sporty kinda funky. I use to think it was only about his athletic prowess on the field but it actually had a groovier origin. When asked about it Garry answered that it was given him by his cousin after he saw him dancing to Aretha Franklin's song Rock Steady. Noticing Tempy was doing more jumping than rocking he then nicknamed him Jump Steady!

It's been written in either one or separate words but from a 1978 game used bat I have it's signed Jumpsteady in one word.

Obviously my own nickname is derived from it, being a huge fan of funk music I just chose the Funksteady handle.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Jumpsteady's career off to a brand new groundhog start.

So, being caught up in this time warp, re-living Templeton's Cardinals career over and over, groundhog day's style, I've decided to start a new cycle, with a twist.
I'll begin the 1976 season with Tempy as the starting shortstop, the way it should have been if the business aspect of baseball hadn't taken over the sporting side.
During that season, team owner August Busch Jr. himself, had promised the anticipating fans that the much heralded Templeton would be promoted from the minor leagues as soon as new basic agreement was reached between major league owners and players, thus ensuring that the promising first round pick would remain in the organization rather than risk losing him under unsatisfactory contract. That is, sadly, the only reason that prevented young Jumpsteady from playing a full rookie season and getting a fair shot at the rookie of the year honors.

I'll be simulating the 1976 Cardinals games with the WhatIfSports MLB engine using the exact same starting line-ups and pitchers as happened in the actual '76 season, Templeton aside of course. I'll also be doing the same for the opposing line-ups and starting pitchers. It should be interesting to see if the Cardinals, as a team, will do better than their actual 72-90 record.

So, I'll be posting Templeton's stats and the games results on a near daily basis and thus, will the career of the greatest athlete shortstop has ever seen keep on rolling...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Remember Garry Templeton?

Something happened to me in the late 70's early 80's. I was a witness to the greatest athlete I've ever seen play shortstop, the most physically demanding position in baseball. It's been a groundhog day ever since.

Garry Lewis Templeton, "Jumpsteady", I've never been able to get him out of my head since...
I've looked hard and I've looked far but I have never seen anybody even come close to what he did and the way he did it.
The way he moved, gliding around the basepaths, all the way to third base, in his uncharacteristic running style, low stooping shoulders, keeping his center of gravity as low as possible, with his fingers pointing down as if he was using them as cleats to plant in the dirt and move even faster.
With the agility of a panther on the field to range all over the hole and even left field with a few long, graceful and powerful strides, making plays standing up that others like Ozzie had to dive for.

For a brief period of time in baseball's history, Garry Templeton was the most astonishing athlete in the game. "Mr. Do-It-All" read the cover of the April 22, 1978 Sporting News, 'cause that's just what he did, hit, field, run and everything in between.
Not only could he do everything but he did it with his own style and grace, made it all look so easy, like routine. Too easy maybe, he looked amazing when he executed but by the same token his coolness made him look nonchalant, careless, when he booted an occasional grounder.
So here I am, 30 years later writing a blog about this man who is mostly remembered for his few mishaps and infamous catchy quotes rather than for the myriads of dazzling plays he performed during his career.

Unable to find a worthy heir to his crown, I've been caught in a time warp ever since, frozen in time, re-living his career through collecting magazine articles, interviews, statistics, pics, cards and the few videos or highlights I've been able to find through the years. Thanks to eBay.
Also thanks to the great pretty cool simulation game, I've been able to keep him active and get my daily dose of Templeton boxscores.

In closing this initial blog post I'd like to send out an invitation to every baseball fan out there who'd like to discuss and argue about any related topics, shortstops, 70's-80's baseball funky-disco era, triples hitters, base stealers and unique athletes of the great game of baseball.