Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Waving the hat!

Coming back on the hat-waving-effect at the start of game 3 of the '84 NLCS.

I've already posted the video of how Garry had cheered the crowd up as the series moved to San Diego with his team down 0-2. Just when his team needed it the most Tempy uncharacteristically expressed himself emotionally, coming to the field slapping hands and high-fiving his teamates like never before and then proceeded to cheer a rather timid home crowd by vigorously waving his hat firing up the fans.

Here's how the whole thing was perceived from the other team's perspective.
From Larry Bowa's book, 'I Still Hate To Lose'.

The next night, October 4, 1984, the stadium was bunkers. During pregame introductions, shortstop Garry Templeton stepped out of character and waved a towel over his head to further incite a mob that didn’t need inciting. The comeback was on. « I think Garry Templeton had more of an effect on the fans than they did on him, » said Frey. « He did something that was so unnatural for Garry Templeton to do at that particular time. It kind of aroused the fans, I thought. The waving of the towel when the players were introduced. Otherwise, I have no idea what got anything started. I don’t know anything more about it. I don’t give a darn about psychology or anything like that. And I don’t think any of this means a darn thing to me. It’s not an important issue to me. »
Perhaps not now. In game 3 Templeton did more than towel wave. He snared a Leon Durham line drive to blunt a first-inning Cubs rally. And his fifth-inning double knocked in two runs and gave the Padres their first lead of the series.

Apparently Jim Frey didn't care about the psychology behind the gesture nor did he seem to understand what really happened, how, why or what changed the momentum of the series but it's obvious that Garry Templeton knew what he was doing and he would go about raising his crowd, teamates and game to the next level.

They went on to sweep the next 3 games to win the National League championship and play the Tigers in the World Series!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Jumpsteady Templeton Gamin' on ya!

Here's a lil' nuthin' special... you can see it all, the glove, the arm, the jumps, the hits, the speed, the grace, the style, the coolnes and athleticism... it's all in this little three minute wrap-up video that I manage to drag together...

...on that nightmare Windows Movie Maker crappy ass software that kept crashing every three clicks...

Like I said, nuthin' special, just Jumpsteady going through his motions like it's just another day at the office, making it look easy...

And a little gamin' on ya added with some color fx to posterize poetry in motion.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Masterp1ece!

Well, here's the pride and joy of my Garry Templeton memorabilias collection, just a few items really;
I have three game used bats, including one that says Jumpsteady Templeton instead of the usual Garry Templeton.
A pair of his 1984 Padres, signed, game worn cleats, of course the championship season. And I can say that he wore size 10 1/2, which is my size, 'cause I tried them on and they fit like a glove, however it seems that Garry had a problem with his right foot 'cause there was some added padding under the arch of that foot which made them uncomfortable for me when I had them on. (Btw, I only wore 'em for a few seconds since I wouldn't have chanced removing Garry's mystical fleet footed aura away from 'em...)
Also have a signed Rawlings baseball saying 3 time All-Star.
And of course a bunch of baseball cards, magazines where he appears on the cover or inside, his 1978 Sports Illustrated poster and about a dozen recorded DVD games of his with the Cardinals and Padres.
Not quite enough to open the Garry Templeton museum yet but hey, if you know anybody who's got more, have him contact me and maybe we'll get ourselves a booth somewhere down the street from the HOF Museum or something...

But back to the jewel of the crown, my pride and joy, this 1980 powder-blue-away St. Louis Cardinals jersey, game worned and signed!

It's my all time favorite jersey and here's why.
I've always liked the Cardinals jersey, logo and colors. And when you have all these sewn-on a powder-blue jersey it makes for a very flashy piece of garment!
But what was even cooler was the 1979-80 jersey because they had numbers on the sleeves instead of on the front of the jersey.
And in the case of Garry because of the length of his last name and the simplicity of his single stroke number it turned into a perfectly symmetrical piece of art!

Watch the pics and notice how the nine letters of his name harmoniously arch around the straight standing, single digit, that is the daddy of all numbers... 1.
Then when you see that same digit on each shoulder it just makes for a perfectly balanced jersey.

I guess it's all in the eye of the beholder but well, those who have eyes will see...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Garry Templeton fired up!

To follow-up on my last post, here's a little recap of how Tempy had turned things around in game 3 of that 1984 NLCS.
We even get a rare video interview as Garry is about to leadoff the bottom of the 3rd for the Friars. No sooner has he finished explaining how he wanted to get things started for the previous game that he goes at it again this time with a single, stolen base and sheer hustle on the basepaths, to once again give his team the lead.

After having struggled for most of that season with injuries, we can clearly see that a playoff run turned out to be the fountain of youth for our favorite shortstop.

Monday, August 31, 2009

1984 San Diego Hero!

I haven't been too active on the blog for a while, blame it on the summer weather, I was too busy being lazy...

But bear with me, here's a little somethin' from Tempy's heydays with the Friars. Yea, it's true that I haven't posted much on Garry's Padres seasons but hey, I had to start at the beginning, St. Louis, where he started his pro career and had some of his best seasons.
Sure we all know now that it wasn't always happy times in Missouri but whatever happened there had to happen and it made our favorite shortstop mature into the leader he was going to become in San Diego.

And that's where I'm taking you now with this video, I strongly believe that Tempy was the cornerstone of the 1984 NLCS. After losing the first two games in Chicago land the Friars where in desperate need of some leadership and who provided? Of course, our very own Mr. Templeton!

Here's my little video resume of how and what happened in that key third game.
First you'll see the players intro where everything was going a little too smooth until Tempy decided to take charge by getting the crowd going by waving his hat and cheerleading some.
Then you'll see how he took away a run to end a potential big 1st inning for the Cubbies by robbing Leon Durham of a sure RBI hit with a tremendous catch, picking a line-drive off thin air, on his feet, muchas gracias, no need to dive à la Ozzie when you got JumpSteadyCoolCat reflexes...
And finally you'll see how, with a "load of potatoes on his back", he hit the clutch double that finally burst Chicago's bubble and put the Padres on top for the 1st and decisive time in the series.
All he did during the series was hit .333 with a .412 OBP and play outstanding defense to lead the franchise to it's first World Series ever.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Jumpsteady funky flava'

And here's the funky remix...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Mr Triple does hit again

Enjoy one more from...
Flashy Garry T...
it all looks so easy...

This, his 9th threebagger of the 1980 season, was also going to be his last. Sidelined by injury for the second time in the season he'd miss another three weeks of play, a total of 44 games which cost him a 4th consecutive Triples Title.

We can appreciate Garry's cool flair for style, with the 'fro poppin' out of the flapless helmet, worn over the cap. The goatee and cross-face sideburns, bright red wristbands worn high around the chocolate brown forearms. Notice the relaxed, standing-up straight batting stance.

More than a ball player, a cool cat...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

21 year old departin' All-Star

Here's the kid who had superstar stamped all over him on his first All-Star at bat in 1977.

Yep, that's pretty much how everybody felt about young Jumpsteady when he first came up. Just watch him blaze his way to second base on what was supposed to be a single, no need to steal the bag when you can to that!

How'd you like to be 21, a switch-hitter, hitting well over .300, able to do what he just did?... Indeed!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mr. Cool part II

Alright, after startin’ my argument about Cool Jumpsteady Templeton’s genuine funky style in my first Mr. Cool article, now’s the time to depart for a deeper journey into Garry’s groovy cool factor.
To be cool you need to have style, and that is something young Jumpsteady expressed a plenty, a naturally…

As I said before, to recognize cool you have to be cool, you don’t appreciate style unless you have some yourself. What I’m sayin’ here is;

If you don’t got it you won’t get it, if you don’t get it you don’t got it…

So for those of you who got it, read on and appreciate, and for those of you who don’t got it, either leave now for fear of feeling stupid or get ready to be enlightened by the genuine self expression of an all out natural born funkycoolsupaphenomathlete.

The Looks

Now you can’t be cool if you don’t look cool. How you look is determined by two factors.
The first is genetically inherited, and that is already where the Templeton legend begins. The man was blessed, I mean he was a perfect specimen with ideal proportions and a lean but muscular physique that combined to produce speed, explosiveness and tremendous coordination.
The type of perfect blend that results in graceful agility that creates the illusion of easiness, the ability to do effortlessly what others will achieve only with difficulty and awkwardly.
As if this perfect body wasn’t enough, Garry was also a very handsome man with symmetrical and dignified features. Cat like eyes with just a hint of sleepy eyelids giving him the cool nonchalant look. Aerodynamically carved eyebrows. Sharply chiseled cheekbones and chin surrounding a noble nose and fully shaped suave lips that make Mick Jagger’s look like a stiff-lipped 67 year old english nanny…

So, all in all Tempy, just like the Buddha who had been born into a perfect body, is one of those proof positive that all men are not created equal…

But stick around, here’s the second part, where we all can do something about what we’ve been given or not…

The second factor about looks is what we do with what we are. The hair and facials, clothes, what we wear and how we wear ‘em… That is where personality will testify for itself, for better or for worse…
Some people have great genetics but screw it up by lack of taste and style, others have lesser physiques but will make it up by expressing true inspiration that will actually bring out their personality and uniqueness, which will always be cool. And then you have a guy like Garry Templeton who’s got the whole deal, great genetics, and a natural sense of style expressing in pure coolness.

Here are some examples.

Hairstyle; the afro. The ‘fro was cool back in the late 60's, the 70’s, early 80’s and actually still is today but few have enough balls, flair or hair to wear it nowadays. But back then it was so cool that even white folks would have their blondy locks permed into afros LOL! True though that Tempy didn’t always wear it or maybe didn’t grow it as much as Oscar Gamble or Bake McBride but that was only because of the no hair rule enforced by the Cardinal organization until about ‘79 when management finally eased up on it.

There was something about the baseball ‘fro look that was simply pure funky cool. The poofy hair that just wouldn’t be tamed, poppin’ out wildly under the caps and helmets will always remain one of the coolest, grooviest and typical image of baseball’s disco era. I mean look at today’s ball players, all you see are bald guys except for a few dreads here and there… C’mon fellas where’s your style. Yea I know, steroids and all that junk will give you a bad hair day…
Here’s a pic of Tempy’s afro at it’s wildest!

The facials.

Very few ball players of that era didn’t sport some type of facials, unless of course they were cursed with the retarded no-hair rule…
Back then the fashion was hair, the more the better. Mustaches to handlebars, sideburns to mutton-chops, goatees to full-out beards, every player had his own way of expressing his manliness. But here again, Tempy had his very own original style of showing-off his unique flair for coolness.
Jumpsteady went with the sideburns and goatee. But what made his facials special was the way he let his sideburns grow across and under his cheekbones to reach down to his goatee. Not only was that the ultimate funky cool facials’ style, but it made him look even faster, creating the illusion of perfect aerodynamics.
You could almost see it as he blazed across the field, his nose and goatee cutting right through the wind, splitting the air that was being channeled and evacuated left and right through his sideburns and cheekbones… swoosh!!!

I’ll conclude the looks part of cool with a couple of garment and clothing examples. Now, you can’t express a whole lot with clothes when you have to wear a uniform but still, Garry did manage to maximize on his few opportunities.

First off, you have to choose a number.

Well, well, well, what do we have here…

Number one… 1

What can possibly be cooler than being number one?!
The first, the one and only, the original number, the daddy of all numbers, a simple yet perfectly symmetrical vertical stroke… ‘nuff said!

Ok then you gotta wear a batting helmet, after going with the single earflap for his first couple of seasons, Templeton finally chose the cooler flapless helmet, worn over the cap, in 1979.

Garry’s superior reflexes could afford this otherwise hazardous choice but it’s one that’s been removed since ‘83 in an effort to prevent serious injuries to baseball’s main assets.
I’ll end part II with this subtle yet unmistakable touch of coolness, watch how Tempy ties his jacket, not with the buttons but by tying both ends together… so 70’s… so cool…

To be continued...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mr. Cool

People often ask me why I’m such a big fan of Garry Templeton, and the answers to that question are a plenty. Tempy was a triples hitter, the rarest and most exiting hit in baseball, he was fast, very fast, was a stolen base threat, he could hit over .300, get 200 hits, also, he was a shortstop, in my opinion the most athletically demanding position in baseball, and not only was he a shortstop but, in his prime, he was the most acrobatic and spectacular shortstop, not only of his era, but that I’ve ever seen play to this day. Yea, including Ozzie… And there is plenty of evidence to back this up, range statistics, peers’ testimony, and a bunch of highlight plays to be seen in recordings of games from late 70’s to early 80’s.

But probably the ‘deepest’ reason of all was that, he was cool…
Now the next question I usually have to answer is, ‘whad’ya mean he’s cool?’

Ok, here’s what I mean.

First of all what is cool? Cool is something else, it’s special, it’s got personality and most of all it’s natural. You can’t buy coolness, can't steal it either, you can’t try to be cool, that would be the ultimate uncoolness, you can only BE cool. Either you have it or you don’t. Sure some grow into coolness, they start out being a bit geeky or nerdy but eventually when they let their true personality come out and express themselves the way they are deep inside, then they become naturally cool.
Actually all of us have the seed of coolness somewhere inside, it’s our true self, but many will never know it’s there and sadly, will never be able to let it grow.

Also, only the cool can recognize the cool, just like only a genius can recognize true genius. Others might know what cool means, what genius is, and be naturally awed by it, but to truly appreciate it you gotta be it yourself…

I grew up in a cool family, in a cool neighborhood with cool friends so it all came naturally to me. I don’t care for bragging, it’s simply the truth, and I tell it like it is only for the purpose of explaining how it is that I can appreciate the pure expression of coolness where a lot of people can only see the illusion of appearances as depicted by the blind souls influencing today’s uninspired society…

Now let me illustrate, with all sorts of evidences, just how cool Garry Templeton really was in an era that was just starting to reluctantly tolerate expressions of coolness.

Here are the first couple of things that struck me about Tempy, his looks and the hype, what everybody was saying about him;

- The looks, the first I actually saw of Garry was his 1978 Topps card shown here;

followed by a few other pics of that same year;

Now THAT is a cool looking ballplayer! Not only was Templeton a handsome young man but notice the relaxed, confident composure about him, very atypical for a 21 year old professional athlete trying to prove he was worthy of all the hype.
And this wasn't cockiness, arrogance or some sense of false pride as is often the case with young promising prospects, but genuine faith in his own potential. A confidence he had earned, whether it was on a baseball diamond, a basketball court, a football field or even at a track meet, young Templeton had always risen way above the pack to shine forth the light of his God given athletic abilities.
He had learned to play the game as a boy amongst men to raise the level of expectations to dizzying heights.

-Now about all that hype.

To that day, I don’t remember a young baseball player coming up with more hype than Garry Templeton. Back when he was playing in the Cardinal's farm system, in Tulsa, the ageless wonder himself, Satchel Paige, touted young Garry as the best shortstop he had ever seen! There were so many praises that some of the press people started being a little suspicious, even sarcastic about it. Like that Post-Dispatch writer who suggested that with all the hype Templeton ought to skip his career and report to Cooperstown for immediate induction into the Hall of Fame...
So how did the young phenom answer both doubters and believers? When asked if he could handle the pressure of being a major league starting shortstop at the ripe ol’ age of 20 he had answered ;
"I think I can handle almost anything"

Here are some of those quotes from his early days, illustrating how impressed his managers, coaches and teammates were about his game and attitude;

- Lou Brock is standing in left field during a 1977 exhibition game as a ground ball heads his way. In front of him, the Cardinals' kid shortstop, Garry Templeton, glides into the hole at full speed. Never breaking stride, Templeton picks the ball out of the province of outfielders and slings it to first base. The runner is out. "I said then he couldn't make that play again on instant replay." Brock recalls. "It's almost physically impossible. But now I've seen it so much it looks routine."
Lou Brock Article from Baseball Digest June 1978.

-"When you look at him, he's still a baby in a man's job... but he's doing the job". Jack Krol, 1978

- "It was on a Monday night in Cincinnati. GeorgeFoster hit a one-hop rocket between shortstop and second base. In my mind, there was no way anybody could make that play. But Garry took one longstep, got his glove right on the ground and came up with it. He never left his feet, just straightened up and gunned him out ".
Ted Simmons, the sporting news, april 22, 1978.

- "It's nice to know he's out there, it's that plain and simple. He gets balls in the hole that a lot of guy's wouldn't even touch. Sometimes when a ball is hit, you say, 'O no!' Then Temp's there and you say, 'Oh YEAH!'."
From Bud Schultz, pitcher and teamate with the Cards.

- " Templeton is clearly a natural, which is a good thing because he has rarely lingered anywhere long enough to absorb much instruction."
From Jim Kaplan, writer for Sports Illustrated october 1977.

- " He has turned the triple, baseball's rarest hit, into a routine race around the bases. You know they're triples when he hits them . The opponents know it too. They just get the ball and throw it in the direction of home plate or a relay man to head him off."
Vern Rapp, Cardinals coach, Baseball Digest June 1978.

These are just a few examples of all the things said about Tempy when he started playing pro ball. Now you just don't get these kinds of comments from these kind of people unless you're really something special because these men have been around and seen it all before, but Templeton found ways to impress pretty much everybody who'd seen him play back then.
Most definitely qualifies as cool!

Ok, end of part one. Much more to come in the next article, Mr. Cool part II

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mr. Triple

From 1977 to 1979 Templeton became the first National League player to lead the league in triples three consecutive seasons with, 18, 13 and 19 three bagers. He could have done it four in a row in 1980 had he not missed over a months play to an injury. Here's a couple of videos of Garry hitting not one but two triples in the same game on april 30th 1980!
Watch Jumpsteady dashing 'round the bases, helmet poppin' loose 'fro flyin' in the wind!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fastest man in NL?

When Tempy first broke into the big leagues everybody was impressed at his unbelievable speed, he had clocked 9.5 for the 100 yard dash in high school which is phenomenal, many even said he was possibly the fastest man in the National League. Was he the fastest? I believe he was, in the NL that is. The AL had the mercurial Willie Wilson phenom that was completely off the charts. But for the late 70's NL, I doubt anybody was that fast, an incredible 3.5 from home to first base! The fastest players usually clock around 3.65, a few approach 3.6 but 3.5 is simply amazing. Here's a highlight from 1978 where you can see it to believe it!

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.