TODAY IN BASEBALL TAKES US BACK TO FEBRUARY 11, 1982. Wonder if the San Diego Padres wish they could have a do-over? An Ozzie and Garry swap opera involving two promising young shortstops was finally resolved on this date in 1982. Ozzie Smith officially became a member of the St. Louis Cardinals and Garry Templeton became a San Diego Padre. The trade was announced two months earlier, but seemed dead several times.
While 25-year old Garry Templeton started strong with the Cardinals (a two-time all-star) it was a less than harmonious existence. Templeton was suspended from the team in August of 1981 for flipping off the hometown fans. He demanded to be traded and the Cardinals obliged.
San Diego wanted to make space for Templeton by, believe it or not, trading Ozzie Smith. Smith didn’t want to go. Smith changed his mind and about coming to St. Louis because he felt the Cardinals wanted him and the Padres didn’t, which was exactly the case, “Any ballplayer wants to come to a club where he’s really wanted, and I felt really wanted in St. Louis.”
As it turned out, statistically, there wasn’t a great deal of difference between the careers of Ozzie Smith and Garry Templeton. Here are each player’s seasonal averages:
Ozzie Smith .262 BA, 37 SB, 50 RBI, 79 runs scored, .978 fielding %
Garry Templeton .271 BA, 19 SB, 57 RBI, 70 runs scored, .961 fielding %
But Ozzie Smith became a leader of a powerful National League team. The Cardinals made it to the League Championship Series (NLCS) four times during Smith’s career, winning three. They made it to the World Series three times, winning one (1982). The “Wizard of Oz” was a 13-time all-star, the starting shortstop 11 times in a row. Ozzie Smith was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2002.
Templeton made it to three all-star games and one post-season. They made it to the World Series in 1984, losing to the Detroit Tigers. The Ozzie & Garry swap opera seemed to work out better for the Wizard of Oz.
Associated Press (AP), San Diego/St. Louis, February 12, 1982
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