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By Teresa Bigham/The Hesperian-Beacon—
LOCKNEY – Garry Lewis Templeton is an American former professional baseball player and minor league manager who was born in Lockney on March 24, 1956. He is a hometown legend.
He played as a shortstop in Major League Baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres and New York Mets from 1976 to 1991.
In this position, the player is between the third baseman and second base bag. The shortstop is considered the captain of the infield and takes charge on balls hit in the air as well as communication among infielders.
Shortstops are an essential component of turning double plays. If the ball is hit to the left side of the infield, a shortstop must cleanly field the ball and accurately throw it to the second baseman covering the second base bag.
A good defensive shortstop must possess excellent range, a strong throwing and an ability to field batted balls cleanly. The shortstop position is widely considered the most valuable defensive position in the infield, if not on the entire field of play.
Templeton was hailed by many as one of the greatest players in his early baseball career, which according to the baseball almanac included All-Star game selections in 1977 and 1979.
He made history in his later years as the first switch-hitter to collect 100 hits from each side of the plate. With 211 hits he led the National League, and with his 19 triples, Templeton led the league for a third successive season. He led the Cardinals in hits in 1977, 1978, and 1979.
At the end of the season, the Cardinals traded him to the Padres. He was with them for 10 years, he played 1,286 games and had 1,135 hits, 43 home runs, 427 RBIs and a batting average of .252. He had one Silver Slugger Award win and one All-Star game appearance in 1985.
Templeton was named team caption in 1987, where he severed for four years.
He was then traded to the New York Mets on May 31, 1991. He played in 80 games for the Mets. He hit for .221 with three home runs and 26 RBIs.
On Aug. 8, 2015, Templeton was inducted into the San Diego Padres Hall of Fame.
After his retirement, Templeton remained connected to baseball by being a coach and a minor league manager. He managed the Anaheim Angels, which is an organization for four teams, posting a 294-272 record.
He was manager of the Northern League. He also managed the Golden Baseball League (GBL) for three years before he moved on to manage the Arizona Winter League’s Palm Springs Chill in 2008. In 2009, he returned to the GBL to manage the Long Beach Armada.
In 2010, he became the manager of the Chico Outlaws and on Jan. 8, 2013, Templeton was named manager of the Network Bears.
Templeton’s story is proof that even if you come from a small town, if you work hard and stay true to yourself you can reach the stars.