30 years ago today, the San Diego Padres were robbed

On February 11, 1982, the St. Louis Cardinals sent Garry Templeton to the San Diego Padres for Ozzie Smith.

Smith became a key member of the Cardinals right away,  as they went on to win the World Series that year. From 1982 on, Smith posted 39.7 oWAR and 18.6 dWAR with the Cardinals, good for a total of 58.3 Wins Above Replacement in St. Louis.

Templeton, meanwhile, played 10 seasons with the Padres and totaled 8.4 oWAR and 0.2 dWAR. San Diego then traded Templeton to the Mets for Tim Teufel, who gave them 2.5 oWAR and -0.5 dWAR in 3 seasons.

Ozzie Smith, Jennie Finch, and Gary Carter / Icon SMI

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Ed
Ed
10 years ago

A couple of comments: 1) It’s kind of strange how things worked out. Templeton was younger than Smith and had done a lot more to that point in his career. But for some reason, his career went off the rails after joining the Padres whereas Ozzie blossomed after joining the Cardinals. 2) In many ways, it should have been a one-sided trade for the Padres. Not only did they get the younger shortstop with the better track record, they got Sixto Lezcano who was only in his late 20s and had had several good seasons with the Brewers. He was… Read more »

Ed
Ed
10 years ago
Reply to  Andy

Definitely. That’s why it’s so surprising in retrospect. The same is true of the Mariners trading away Omar Vizquel. I doubt they foresaw that he’d still be in the majors nearly 20 years later.

Wine Curmudgeon
10 years ago
Reply to  Andy

At the time, most people — or at least those of us who played Stratomatic — thought the trade made no sense. Templeton was a much better player than Smith at that point — a solid fielder who was a powerful hitter for a late 1970s and early 1980s shortstop.

Wasn’t there some sort of conflict between Templeton and Cardinals management?

Hartvig
Hartvig
10 years ago

Cardinals Manager (and GM) Whitey Herzog and pulled Templeton off the field the year before when he flipped off Cardinal fan- on ladies day- after not running out an infield ground out and they had to be separated by players on the bench. Herzog then promptly put Templeton on the disabled list. Smith was actually pretty well down on Herzog’s list of who he wanted to get but the Padres were the only team that was interested, mostly because Smith’s agent had asked for a 5 year/$25M contract (this was at a time before any player had made as much… Read more »

Steven
Steven
10 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

Rick Burleson and Ivan DeJesus were the names at the top of Herzog’s list. Templeton’s decline was also hastened by bad knees. According to an Inside Sports magazine article from 1982, the Busch Stadium Astro-Turf was to blame for that condition.

Ed
Ed
10 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

Thanks for the additional context Hartvig and Steven! Herzog was definitely a no BS manager and traded away several starters over the years who he considered bad influences.

Ed
Ed
10 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

BTW, this article has some nice context on the Templeton-Herzog relationship:

http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/article_e2ebeb70-ce60-592f-a506-99c938347842.html

A few tidbits:

1) Herzog called Templeton the most talented player he ever saw (more talented than Mickey Mantle or George Brett).
2) Templeton had a substance abuse problem which contributed to his behavioral issues.
3) Templeton later managed Herzog’s grandson in the minor leagues.

SocraticGadfly
10 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

Hartvig, I was at that game; remember the steam coming out of Herzog’s ears. Whitey got Ozzie to “hit to the astroturf” and his batting took off. Plus, he cut down a LOT on his strikeouts … until he became one of the best contact hitters in the game. I think that was underrated about him at the time, and may still be. And, whoever noted before that he NEVER had a negative UZR … that’s incredible.

Plus, now that TLR is gone, it would be nice to see Ozzie back at Busch.

Luis Gomez
Luis Gomez
10 years ago
Reply to  Andy

Andy, I just checked Ozzies Smith’s BR-page and I noticed he had a 3.1 dWAR in 1989, but no other season higher than 1.9. I know oWAR can jump from a year based on a number of things, but how is it possible to average 1.5 dWAR for seven years, have a 3.1 and then going down to the 1.something for next several seasons?

Kirk
Kirk
10 years ago
Reply to  Luis Gomez

Think that is odd, check out Carlos Lee. Thru 2010 a dWAR of -6.7 his 2010 dWAR was -2.0. Then he sees the light in 2011 and posts a +2.1 dWar, making him the second best in all of baseball in 2011, really Carlos Lee??

mosc
mosc
10 years ago
Reply to  Kirk

You’re surprised by this? I’ve been saying it on here for years. dWAR is useless for evaluating anything and it corrupts oWAR numbers making some people on here make some very poor evaluations of many player’s total value. I complained on here that Nick Swisher was a top-5 dWAR guy for most of 2011. Nick Swisher? Really? The guy is an average RIGHT FIELDER ffs, far from the best player at any position in all of baseball. dWAR has many fundamental flaws that are never even mentioned when it’s stats are thrown around so ubiquitously on here. It over-values multi-position… Read more »

John Autin
Editor
10 years ago
Reply to  Kirk

A criticism of dWAR based on its rating of any one player is pointless. And what do you mean that Swisher was a top-5 dWAR guy “for most of 2011”? Even among the vocal advocates of dWAR, nobody claims that its one-year ratings are totally reliable — but you’re complaining about a partial-year rating? I don’t claim to be an expert in defensive metrics. When I doubt a dWAR number, I compare it to other ratings. So: In 2011, Swisher’s RF/9 was a bit above the league average, on a team with fewer balls in play than most. (Yanks were… Read more »

MikeD
MikeD
10 years ago
Reply to  Andy

Agreed. I’m not sure WAR of any flavor, or any single stat, can fully capture how valuable Ozzie Smith was. Using UZR, Ozzie never registered a single negative season with the glove, up through age 41. Even the best fielders seem to have one or two UFO seasons with the glove, registering a negative, especially as they age. Omar Vizquel, for example, has had six negative seasons. As Bill James once noted, sometimes the defensive gap between the best fielder and the second-best fielder is much greater than the gap between the second-best fielder and the tenth best fielder. The… Read more »

Lawrence Azrin
Lawrence Azrin
10 years ago
Reply to  Andy

Andy,

A lot of people still think of Ozzie Smith as a mediocre hitter, but if you take his career from 1982-on, and include basestealing, baserunning, staying out of GIDP, and reaching on error (i.e., all the “not-hitting” parts of offense), he’s at about league-average level, and defnitely way above-average for a shortstop.

It’s those first four years of his career in SD (esp. 1979: -43 Rbat!) that drag down his career offensive numbers.

SocraticGadfly
10 years ago
Reply to  Andy

He arguably should have been the MVP in his runner-up year in 1987. I still remember Templeton flipping off the crowd at Busch in 1981; I was at that game. I knew then he wasn’t long for St. Louis.

That said, Whitey got Ozzie to use the astroturf while hitting ground balls to take advantage of his speed more.

And, I still remember game 4, 1982 WS, when Ozzie followed McGee home, scoring from second on a sac fly. Only time I’ve ever seen it.

Timmy Pea
Timmy Pea
10 years ago
Reply to  Ed

Agreed! Ozzie is underated.

Dr. Remulak
Dr. Remulak
10 years ago

I’d trade Ozzie for Jennie Finch. Whatever became of Jennie’s flamethrowing brother Sid?

MikeD
MikeD
10 years ago
Reply to  Dr. Remulak

Sidd is pushing 50 now and tore his rotator cuff, opting to treat it through yoga and meditation. Sadly, his fastball is down to 118 mph now, although, granted, that was clocked at the top of a mountain ice peak with sub-zero temperatures, and Sidd hadn’t warmed up.

Dr. Remulak
Dr. Remulak
10 years ago
Reply to  Andy

“If she came in on me, I’d take her the other way.”
“I’d like to lay one down on her.”
“Break out the tarp, this field is getting wet.”

PhilM
PhilM
10 years ago
Reply to  Andy

She’s taller than you, she’s younger than you, and now I can finally say she has better hands than you — sorry Ozzie, but please pack your Gold Gloves and go!

Kahuna Tuna
Kahuna Tuna
10 years ago
Reply to  Andy

“Did you say you liked the St. Louis fan base better?!”

Luis Gomez
Luis Gomez
10 years ago

Luis “Mambo” De Leon! I think he’s still pitching in the Puerto Rico Winter League. 🙂

birtelcom
birtelcom
10 years ago

Most Triples Through Age 23, Over the Past 100 Years:
1. Buddy Lewis 54
T2. Garry Templeton/Rogers Hornsby 52
4. Arky Vaughan 50
5. Carl Crawford 49
6. Jimmie Foxx 48

Two-R Garrys: Garry Trudeau; Garry Wills; Garry Trudeau
One-R Garys: Gary, Indiana; Gary Coleman, Gary Busey, Gary Cooper
Gary as a name derives from Anglo-Saxon roots, based on the word for “spear”.

DaveR
DaveR
10 years ago

I recall thinking that Ozzie’s hitting had gotten so inept as to cancel out anything he did defensively. When the trade was made, along with the maturing of Terry Kennedy and Tim Lollar, as well as Eric Show, it DID improve the Padres to their second-ever .500 record. The team was pretty close to first at the break. Dick Williams did a great job even with Broderick Perkins being a dud at first base. Actually, pretty much the entire infield didn’t hit too well, now that I think about it.

John Autin
Editor
10 years ago

The ultimate results of the trade were undeniably surprising. But Templeton was also overrated during his STL years, because of his high BA and high hit and SB totals. But his steals really added no value, due to his poor success rate (averaging 30 SB and 15 CS in his 4 “big” years with STL). And of course, he was one of the biggest hackers in MLB history. Templeton is the only player with two seasons of 200+ hits but less than 20 walks. Only 4 other players had even one such year, and none since 1938. So, for instance,… Read more »

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
10 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

Fascinating stuff as always, JA. As someone who wasn’t around at the time, it’s crazy to think that a guy would walk that little. But it makes sense that his hit totals were so high – fast guy (high BABIP), swings at everything, always looking to put it in play. Yup. You’re gonna bat .300 if that’s what you’re like as a hitter.

Ed
Ed
10 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

Not sure I agree that he was overrated. Looking at WAR among shortstops during his four peak years, Templeton ranked 1st, 6th, 3rd and 3rd. He was second in total WAR for shortstops in that 4 year period. Shortstop was a very different position 30 years ago and Templeton was definitely among the best during that stretch.

And I believe that Bill James looked at the relationship between BB/SO ratio for batters and career length and found no relationship.

John Autin
Editor
10 years ago
Reply to  Ed

Ed, I agree with you in one respect: For 1977-80 combined, Templeton was the best hitting SS in baseball, with a 105 OPS+, just ahead of Yount and Smalley. The median OPS+ for a regular SS in that time was 77. So Templeton was a very good hitting SS for that time, and mainly because of that — since WAR compares to others at the position — he was #2 in total bWAR for shortstops. But based on my memory of that time, Templeton was hailed as an excellent hitter, regardless of position. He got a LOT of notice for… Read more »

Hartvig
Hartvig
10 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

John- Your memory is right in line with mine. I remember comparisons with not just Lou Boudreau & Joe Cronin but Rod Carew as well. But I think Ed is right here also. He put up some incredible numbers at a very young age. IF he had applied himself, stayed away from drugs and learned from his mistakes both on and off the field, he could very well rank alongside of Yount, Smith, Trammell, Ripken & Larkin in the Golden Age of Shortstops. But he didn’t and now we’re writing articles about how a team that traded a shortstop with… Read more »

Steven
Steven
10 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

Spring training of 1982, he told a teammate, “You hit when you can, I hit when I want to.” Humble.

Ed
Ed
10 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

Fair enough. I was born in ’69 so I don’t really remember the early part of his career that well.

John Autin
Editor
10 years ago
Reply to  Ed

Ed, two points about your Bill James comment: (1) You referenced BB/SO ratio, but I was only talking about BB rates. (2) I’m not familiar with the specific James study you reference, and while I don’t doubt that he found something like what you say, I wonder if career length is the right framework. I suspect that career length is affected by BB/SO ratio, even if there’s no significant difference in the age/performance graph line between very low ratios and very high ratios. There is a positive correlation between BB/SO ratio and performance. And there is a minimum performance required… Read more »

Ed
Ed
10 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

Okay, a bit more info. It’s from his “87 abstract. What he found is that k/bb rate for rookie hitters isn’t “an indicator of potential growth or development for a rookie”. Not quite what I said above, but along the same lines.

John Autin
Editor
10 years ago

Also, I wonder if Ozzie got a confidence boost from the trade — i.e., being valued on a par with someone who was considered a big star.

Hartvig
Hartvig
10 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

In Herzog’s book, it sounds like Whitey & Ozzie hit it off pretty quickly and it sounded like Whitey developed a lot of respect for him fairly quickly. I’ve never read Ozzie’s autobiography to see what he has to say about it. But it would be interesting to find out.

Doug
Doug
10 years ago

Padres and HOF infielders just don’t seem to go together.

A couple of months ago was the anniversary of San Diego trading 22 year-old Roberto Alomar for 28 year-old Tony Fernandez.

Luis Gomez
Luis Gomez
10 years ago
Reply to  Doug

And how about last year’s World Series MVP?

John Autin
Editor
10 years ago

Ozzie’s degree of offensive improvement after age 26 is extremely rare for an established player. Through age 26, Ozzie had about 2500 PAs and an OPS+ of 66. So I looked at players through age 26 with at least 1500 PAs and OPS+ no more than 70. There were 41 such players, with a median OPS+ of 65. (The great majority were shortstops, by the way.) From age 27 onward: — Ozzie’s 93 OPS+ was 2nd-best of the group (and he played 4 times as many games as the #1 guy, Bill Rariden). — Ozzie was the only one of… Read more »

MikeD
MikeD
10 years ago

I remember thinking the deal was interesting when it was made, the best glove man for a SS with a bat. I don’t think I thought it was a bad deal for St. Louis, but I honestly can’t remember. Maybe I always just appreciated defense more than some others.

One fun stat: Garry Templeton, a mostly solid and plus fielder, for his career was rated at +29 runs saved. Ozzie Smith in one year, 1989, was rated at +32.

Hartvig
Hartvig
10 years ago
Reply to  MikeD

I have to say that I thought that Whitey Herzog had lost his mind. In those days, I had far less patience with malcontents (a holdover from my football playing days I’m still trying to shake) and I still thought it was a terrible deal for the Cardinals. Hell, even Whitey Herzog thought he traded away far more than he got in return, at least at the time of the trade.

Steven
Steven
10 years ago

This is off-topic, but in 1975, the year before Templeton’s big-league debut, the Cardinals had an infield of 1b-Ron Fairly (Hernandez was up-and-down between Triple A and the majors), 2b-Ted Sizemore, 3b-Ken Reitz, and Mike Tyson (not the ear-biting guy) at shortstop. That had to have been one of the worst infields in terms of overall footspeed in history.

Dr. Remulak
Dr. Remulak
10 years ago

Garry Templeton had two seasons in which he had more triples than walks. I wonder whether he’s the only player to have done that.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
10 years ago
Reply to  Dr. Remulak

More 3B than BB has been accomplished 20 times by players with at least 350 PA, but only Whitey Alperman and Garry Templeton made the list twice. In 1909 Alperman had 12 triples and 2 walks. Most recently it was done by Wilton Guerrero in 1997. Of course Chief Wilson, with his record setting 36 triples, made the list.

kds
kds
10 years ago

Both Ozzie and Garry were considerably better on turf than on grass. Not surprising for guys who’s most outstanding offensive attribute was speed, hit the ball on the ground and run. I think rWAR uses a generic runs park factor, (giving “John Pete” the same park factor at Coors as Bichette or another power hitter.) This would underestimate the amount they were better because of the carpet at Busch and overestimate Templeton’s decline when got to SD. I think OPS+ probably has the same problem too.

birtelcom
birtelcom
10 years ago
Reply to  kds

During his St. Louis years, Ozzie’s OPS at home was .718 while his OPS on the road was .671, a somewhat bigger than normal plus on the home side than is normal for the average major leaguer.

Busch’s park factor during Ozzie’s career was essentially neutral, which merely indicates that about the same number of runs were scored in games at Busch as in Cardinals games on the road.

John Autin
Editor
10 years ago
Reply to  kds

I remember looking into grass/turf as a possible factor in Templeton’s decline with SD — thinking that maybe he was a better player on turf, and playing most of his games on grass in SD worked against him.

But in fact, while with the Cardinals, Templeton hit better on grass:
— BA, .309 grass, .303 turf
— SLG, .430 grass, .414 turf

In his post-STL career, Templeton hit much better on turf:
— BA, .246 grass, .263 turf
— SLG, .333 grass, .351 turf

kds
kds
10 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

I’d like to see those splits for the Wizard also. My main point wasn’t that this would explain much of their changing success before and after the trade, but that a too simplistic version of park effects is used in WAR and OPS+, and this may in some cases bias the results.

John Autin
Editor
10 years ago
Reply to  kds

kds, I understood your angle — I was supplementing, not contradicting.

Here are Ozzie’s pre-trade splits — I wonder if Whitey knew?
— BA, .217 grass, .264 turf (725 PAs on turf)
— SLG, .260 grass, .321 turf (yes, those really are his slugging averages)

birtelcom
birtelcom
10 years ago
Reply to  kds

kds: B-Ref’s Park Factors are only “too simple” is you want them to do more than they are intended to do. B-Ref’s Park Factors are not meant to tell you what a particular player might have done playing in a different home park — that would be a very speculative enterprise no matter how much data one has. Park Factors are simply intended to put the amount of overall run creation or run prevention accomplished by all players in the context of the run scoring levels of their respective home parks. A player who creates 100 runs for his team… Read more »

kds
kds
10 years ago
Reply to  birtelcom

Suppose you have a park that increases HR greatly, while all other batting events occur at league average rates. Suppose that the HR’s increase run scoring so that the run park factor is 120. Do we want to apply that the same way to a batter like Ichiro as we do to a low average power hitter? Part of this is the question, do we want to figure the players results, or how good, in a more abstract sense the player is? In the great HR park a player like Ichiro would probably score a few more runs, because of… Read more »

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