Friday, January 15, 2010

A new Outlaw in Chico!

So far I've been concentrating this blog on Garry's playing days but of course, any true fan of our favorite shortstop knows that Tempy has never left the game he loves with a passion and he's been very active coaching and managing for the past 12 years or so.
Garry seems to be a natural when it comes to communicating his baseball knowledge and sharing his experience. After all, the game flows in his blood, he's first learned it from his father Spiavia who played pro-ball in the Negro league, had a 16 year all-star career while at that same time coaching his own kids and even spent some of his off-time participating in baseball clinics for youth or throwing batting practice for the neighborhood kids in his own backyard!

Tempy has now just been named the new skipper for the Golden Baseball League's Chico Outlaws which is highly regarded as one of the top-class orginization of the professional independent baseball league, which boasts teams in all three North American countries of Canada, Mexico and of course the US.

Mr. Templeton seemed quite enthusiastic about joining the Outlaws as he said during the press conference;

"I was always kind of jealous of Mark Parent (Outlaws former manager)," Templeton admitted in his typical mellow manner. "His locker was right next to mine for six years when we played on the Padres together. Because of the fan support he had (in Chico), the way the players played here, the stadium he got to play in, I always asked him if he wanted to switch places."

"I've wanted to manage in Chico since the first year of the GBL," said Templeton. "This is the best place to play in the league, with the best fans, and a great facility. There is a fine nucleus of players coming back that with some additions can get the Outlaws back in the playoffs and competing once again for a championship."

The enthusiasm was obviously shared by Chico's GM Curt Jacey;

"It will be exciting to have such an accomplished professional as our new team leader," said Chico Outlaw General Manager Curt Jacey. "Garry's proven he can win at any level, but just as important is his tremendous reputation of being involved in the community wherever he has played or managed."

David Kaval, GBL's chief executive also seemed very pleased about the move;

"We're really looking to put a lot into improving the player experience here," Kaval said. "Having that and Garry's vast network connections in minor league baseball, I think you're going to see a real strong team out on the field."

I'm looking forward to following Garry's new assignment with the Outlaws this spring, it all seems like a win-win situation.

I always thought Tempy would eventually manage in the big leagues as I'm positive he's got all the needed skills and experience to succeed in doing so. I know he's said himself that he was really enjoying coaching young ballplayers and watch them improve. And that, though he would certainly like to take up the challenge of a major league gig, he'd still be a happy man if that opportunity never presented itself, still, as the fan that I am, I really hope that one day, he'll be wearing a MLB uniform again, as a skipper this time!

In the meantime GO OUTLAWS!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

100 hits from each SIDE, the 1st!

It's a well known fact that Garry became the first player ever to get at least 100 hits from each side of the plate in 1979. Surprisingly, this feat which obviously, had never been achieved in MLB's long history before Garry, was duplicated the very next year by another triple hitting speedster of the era, Willie Wilson. Interestingly enough, it hasn't been done since. Kinda odd to think that something that's only been done twice in history would happen in consecutive seasons. Obviously, Tempy's achievement had an inspiring effect on Willie.

Sadly many detractors have tried to undermine this remarkable achievement saying that he did it while hitting strictly right handed for his last nine games.

So he did, so what?! What's the problem??

I've read some saying he cheated, his record was tainted... Morons...
The record says, 1st to get 100 hits from each side of the plate not vs lefties and righties...

If anything it should make it even more impressive. For the first time in his pro career he gave up switch hitting to face righties from his right side. Even tougher!

Here's a quote from teamate, catcher Ted Simmons, witness to the feat;
      "That was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. He needed more hits than he had games left, so he batted righthanded against righthanded pitchers to get them. And they weren't dinks; he hit the ball hard. I've never seen anyone in the game do that."
Let's be realistic here, it's mathematically impossible to face enough lefties in a season to get the needed 100 hits. If it would have been possible someone would have done it before, or since, someone like Pete Rose for example. For the record Wilson did the same thing to get there...

Also, nobody can accuse him of being selfish in doing so or that it could have affected his team since the Cardinals were already out of the pennant race by that time. At least it gave fans some exitement and a positive reason to keep following the games.
So he did succeed in his quest to become the first 100-100 switcher by getting the last 6 right-handed hits against righties, more power to him!

Nobody can take that away from him. He got 111 from the left side hitting .293 and 100 from the right hitting .346.

1979 was truly an outstanding season for Garry who led the league for hits with 211, triples 19, was 6th with a batting AVG of .314, also 6th in runs scored 105 and 7th in total bases with 308.
Defensively, his range factor numbers, 5.59 RF/9, put him ahead of any shortstop in the big leagues.

With numbers like these, it becomes kinda difficult to argue with the man who snubbed the All-Star voters with his legendary infamous;
"If I ain't startin', I ain't departin'"
There was never any doubts in my mind about who was the true 1979 All-Star shortstop, hence the 1980 Topps card you see at the top right side of this blog.