Padres induct Templeton, Santiago into HOF
Shortstop, catcher fondly recall time with franchise
SAN DIEGO -- Before Saturday's game against the Phillies, former Padres Benito Santiago and Garry Templeton were honored in an on-field ceremony inducting them into the Padres Hall of Fame.
Santiago and Templeton's induction makes them the 10th and 11th players to join the group: executive Buzzie Bavasi, first baseman Nate Colbert, broadcaster Jerry Coleman, outfielder Tony Gwynn, closer Trevor Hoffman, pitcher Randy Jones, former owner Ray Kroc, manager Dick Williams and outfielder Dave Winfield.
With their families sitting on each side of home plate, executive chairman Ron Fowler introduced the inductees. Jones, Colbert and Hoffman were also in attendance. Fowler also announced that the Padres' Hall of Fame building will be open at Petco Park by the time San Diego hosts the 2016 All-Star Game.
Santiago was the first to give a speech and spoke about how special San Diego was to him because it was the place he started his career.
"It's great to be back in my home of San Diego," Santiago said. "This is a dream come true."
Santiago is the first catcher to be inducted to the Padres Hall of Fame, while Templeton is the first shortstop.
Santiago played seven of his 20 years in the Majors with San Diego. He caught 203 of 650 attempted basestealers during his time with the Padres, the highest caught-stealing percentage (31.2) of any backstop in franchise history. He was named National League Rookie of the Year in 1987 and was a five-time All-Star, four with the Padres (1989-92).
Templeton spoke after his fellow inductee, telling stories about being traded to San Diego and being proud of the Padres' success when he was a part of the first of their two National League pennants in 1984.
"This is a day that is going to live in my heart forever," Templeton said during his speech.
Templeton said he wasn't expecting the honor, but when he got the call from Padres' president Mike Dee he thought, "Man, he's finally going to give me a job," Templeton joked. "I swear that was the first thing that came to my mind. ... I was speechless, didn't know what to say, but later on it hit me deeper."
Templeton was with the Padres for 10 of his 16 seasons in the Majors. During his time with San Diego, he had a .965 fielding percentage, which stands as the best fielding percentage in franchise history for the position. In addition, Templeton was named an NL All-Star and team MVP in 1985, along with earning a Silver Slugger Award in 1984.
Both Santiago and Templeton thanked the San Diego fans, which prompted loud cheers from the crowd at Petco Park.
"They are two terrific players, everyone wanted to be Benito and Templeton," interim manager Pat Murphy said before the game. "They were two flashy real talented guys who played the game the right way and brought same pizzazz to the game. There were a lot of people trying to emulate those guys growing up."
Both Santiago and Templeton said it was special to be able to share the ceremony with each other, as Santiago credited Templeton as being a father figure to him while he was in the team.
"He taught me how to play the game," Santiago said. "And he did it with passion. If I made a mistake he would come to my face and we would straighten things out the right way. I love him."
Templeton wouldn't take too much credit, saying that all he tried to do was keep him on the straight and narrow.
"In baseball there is a lot of ups and downs, highs and lows, so when he had his lows I tried to bring him back up to his highs," Templeton said. "He had tremendous talent. He had natural ability more than any other catcher I had seen before."