Snider: Garry Templeton’s disappearing, and reappearing, record

From SABR member Jeff Snider at Baseball Essential on February 11, 2020:

About three years ago, I wrote about former St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Garry Templeton. In 1979, Templeton became the first player ever to have at least 100 hits from each side of the plate in one season. He had 111 hits as a left-handed hitter, and exactly 100 hits right-handed. Or so the legend went. According to more modern records, Templeton was only credited with either 94 or 96 hits from the right side, according to Retrosheet and Baseball-Reference, respectively. Both sites agree that Templeton had 94 hits off left-handed pitchers, but B-Ref credits him with two hits as a right-handed hitter versus a right-handed pitcher. (View the following screenshots to see Templeton’s hit totals according to both sites. I’m including screenshots because I expect these numbers to change based on what you’re about to read.)

As I wrote in April 2017, it appeared that whoever told Templeton he was close to reaching 100 hits right-handed had been mistaken about exactly how close he was, and he fell short. This was doubly frustrating because Templeton actually took time off after recording what he believed to be his 100th right-handed hit of the season, leaving 11 plate appearances on the table that he obviously would have taken had he known he was still short of the record.

One little thing has been nagging at me for the last three years, though: Wouldn’t Templeton have had to be pretty confident in his totals to stop right on 100 with a few games left in the season? And if he was that confident, isn’t there a chance that he was right?

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Originally published: February 13, 2020. Last Updated: February 13, 2020.