Friday, October 15, 2010

So Long Malts

A retirement took place this week that will barely send a ripple though out the sporting world of the West Coast.

Kirk Maltby of the Red Wings called it a career after 14 seasons with Detroit.   You won't find his name on the ballot for the Hall of Fame, but Wing's fans will long remember his contributions on the "Grind Line" of the 90's.

 In his trophy case are four, count 'em, four Stanley Cup rings.   His significant contribution was his ability to find a role, accept it, and perfect it.   He wasn't a marquee player, but an athlete any real sports fan can look up to.   A blue collar player that took pride in working hard and making the most of his abilities, abilities that allowed him to play in over 1000 games as a Red Wing.    You look at a guy like Maltby and you can't help but remember all the jack ass players that had huge talent, but chose to allow ego and idiocy get in the way.

A name that comes to mind is Gary Templeton.   Who, you say?   Exactly!   A prized talent for the St. Louis baseball Cardinals, Gary Templeton had the tools to be one of the most memorable baseball players of all time.   Sadly, his true nature came out when he made obscene gestures to the crowd, not once, but twice on Ladie's Day at at Busch Stadium.   When selected as a reserve to the 1979 All Star Team, his response was, "If I ain't startin,' I ain't departin".   What a jerk!  What happen to him?  Well, the Cards had enough and traded him to the San Diego Padres for Ozzie Smith.   St. Louis got a future Hall of Famer and San Diego got an injury plagued .250 hitter, nice trade Pads.

The sports landscape is littered with far too many of the Gary Templetons who take up the media's time with their egotistical rants, self-promotion, and uncontrollable behaviors.  Unfortunately, the Kirk Maltby's of the world slip by with out their due accolades.   Thanks, Malts, we will miss you.

1 comment:

JB Powers said...

Gary Templeton was a lifetime .271 hitter
Ozzie Smith was lifetime .262 hitter

I thought they were both great, but it was a pretty even trade.