Bob Turley

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For other people nicknamed "Bullet Bob", see Bullet Bob.
Bob Turley
Bob Turley 1959.png
Turley in 1959
Pitcher
Born: (1930-09-19)September 19, 1930
Troy, Illinois
Died: March 30, 2013(2013-03-30) (aged 82)
Atlanta, Georgia
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 29, 1951 for the St. Louis Browns
Last MLB appearance
September 21, 1963 for the Boston Red Sox
Career statistics
Win–loss record 101–85
Earned run average 3.64
Strikeouts 1,265
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Robert Lee Turley (September 19, 1930 – March 30, 2013), known as "Bullet Bob", was an American professional baseball player and financial planner. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a pitcher from 1951 through 1963. After his retirement from baseball, he worked for Primerica Financial Services.

Turley made his MLB debut with the St. Louis Browns in 1951, and stayed with the team through their first season in Baltimore, when he appeared in his first MLB All-Star Game. After the 1954 season, he was traded to the New York Yankees. With the Yankees, Turley appeared in two more All-Star Games. He led the American League in wins in 1958, and won the Cy Young Award, World Series Most Valuable Player Award, and Hickok Belt that year. He finished his playing career with the Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox in 1963, and then coached the Red Sox in 1964.

Turley began working in financial planning during the baseball offseason. In 1977, he cofounded with Arthur L. Williams, Jr. the company that would become Primerica Financial Services. He also got involved in real estate, buying and selling 27 houses in Florida.

Early life[edit]

Turley was born in Troy, Illinois.[1] He was raised in East St. Louis, Illinois. He attended East St. Louis Senior High School in East St. Louis, and played for the school's baseball squad. He was used as both a starter and reliever during the season, becoming the staff's ace pitcher by the end of the season. Turley won the team's sportsmanship award that year.[2]

Bill DeWitt, the general manager of the St. Louis Browns, brought Turley to Sportsman's Park for a tryout. Turley also attended a workout camp for the New York Yankees, held in Maryville, Illinois. The day after he graduated from high school in 1948, Turley signed with the Browns as an amateur free agent.[2] He received a $600 signing bonus ($5,889 in current dollar terms).[3]

Professional career[edit]

Minor leagues and St. Louis Browns / Baltimore Orioles[edit]

Turley made his professional debut that year in minor league baseball with the Belleville Stags of the Class D Illinois State League, pitching to a 9–3 win–loss record.[2] He was promoted to the Aberdeen Pheasants of the Class C Northern League in 1949, and led the league in wins, with 23, and strikeouts, with 205.[2][4] He split the 1950 season with the Wichita Indians of the Class A Western League and the San Antonio Missions of the Class AA Texas League. He led Wichita in the Western League playoffs.[5] In 1951, he played for San Antonio. He appeared in the Texas League's All-Star Game,[6] and was named the league's most valuable player at the end of the season.[7] He struck out 22 batters in one game for San Antonio.[4]

Turley played his first game in the major leagues on September 29, 1951. He lost to the Chicago White Sox. He did not pitch again in 1951, and after the 1951 season ended, he enlisted with the United States Army for two years.[7][8] He returned to the Browns in August 1953, and caught attention for his high strikeout rate.[9] Turley remained with the team after they moved to Baltimore, Maryland, to become the Baltimore Orioles in 1954. He earned $9,000 ($79,037 in current dollar terms) for the 1954 season.[10] He pitched the first game at Memorial Stadium, striking out nine in a complete game.[11] A power pitcher, Turley recorded many strikeouts, but also did not have great control.[12][13] For the 1954 season, he led the American League in strikeouts with 185, but also led the league with 181 walks.[14] That year, he earned comparisons to fellow fireballer Bob Feller,[13][15][16] and finished in third place in balloting for the Hickok Belt, given to the professional athlete of the year.[17]

While playing for the Orioles, Turley obtained the nickname "Bullet Bob". The magazine Look wrote a story about Turley, and wanted to measure the velocity of his fastball. They used a bullet timer from the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, which recorded a speed of 98 miles per hour (158 km/h) by the time it reached home plate.[3]

Casey Stengel, the manager of the New York Yankees, sought to acquire Turley. The Yankees needed younger starting pitchers, as their rotation off due to the ages of Allie Reynolds, Eddie Lopat, Johnny Sain, Tommy Byrne, and Jim Konstanty.[18] In order to acquire the hitting the Orioles decided they needed to compete, they traded Turley to the New York Yankees after the 1954 season.[19][14] The Yankees received Turley, Billy Hunter, Don Larsen, and players to be named later, while the Orioles acquired Harry Byrd, Jim McDonald, Willy Miranda, Hal Smith, Gus Triandos, Gene Woodling, and players to be named later. To complete the trade, the Yankees sent Bill Miller, Kal Segrist, Don Leppert, and Ted Del Guercio to the Orioles, and the Orioles sent Mike Blyzka, Darrell Johnson, Jim Fridley, and Dick Kryhoski to the Yankees. Comprising 17 players, this trade remains the biggest in MLB history.[11][18][20][21]

New York Yankees[edit]

Turley played for the Yankees from 1955 to 1962. In the 1955 season, Turley won 17 games for the Yankees,[22] and recorded 210 strikeouts, second to Herb Score (245). But, he also led the league in walks with 177.[4][23] The Yankees won the American League pennant, and advanced to the 1955 World Series, opposing the Brooklyn Dodgers. He pitched in Game Three of the 1955 World Series,[24] losing to Johnny Podres. He also made two relief appearances in the series, in Games Five and Seven, as the Dodgers defeated the Yankees four games to three.[25]

Turley had a disappointing season in 1956, with an 8–4 win–loss record and a 5.05 earned run average (ERA).[22] However, the Yankees again won the American League pennant. Turley appeared in Games One and Two of the 1956 World Series against the Dodgers as a relief pitcher. Facing Clem Labine in Game Six, Turley pitched a complete game, but the Yankees lost the game by a 1–0 score.[26] The Yankees defeated the Dodgers in Game Seven to win the series four games to three.[27]

In the 1957 season, Turley developed a curveball.[12] He finished the season with a 2.71 ERA, good for fourth best in the American League.[28] The Yankees won the pennant again. In the 1957 World Series against the Milwaukee Braves, Turley started Game Three, but was relieved by Larsen in the second inning.[29] He won his first World Series game in Game Six, a complete game.[14] The Yankees lost the series to the Braves, four games to three.[29]

By the 1958 season, Turley changed his delivery in an effort to improve his control, by using a no-wind up pitching position.[4][30] His best season came in 1958, when he won 21 games and lost seven, for an American League-leading .750 winning percentage. He also led the American League with 19 complete games, and finished with the sixth-best ERA (2.97). However, his 128 walks also led the league.[31] Turley started his 1958 World Series on a low note, giving up a leadoff home run and lasting just one-third of an inning as the Yankees fell behind the Milwaukee Braves two games to none.[32] With the Yankees one game away from elimination, Turley threw a complete game shutout in Game Five. He then recorded a 10th-inning save in Game Six.[32] A day later, in Game Seven, he relieved Don Larsen in the third inning and won his second game in three days, with 6 23 innings of two-hit relief.[32] The Yankees became just the second team to recover from a 3–1 World Series deficit, and Turley was voted the World Series Most Valuable Player Award.[32] As a result of his 1958 season, Turley won the Hickok Belt as top professional athlete of the year, receiving twice as many votes as Jim Brown, the second place finisher.[33] He also won the Cy Young Award as the best pitcher in Major League Baseball, edging Warren Spahn of the Braves by one vote, and Lew Burdette of the Braves and Bob Friend of the Pittsburgh Pirates by two votes.[32][34] Turley finished second in the American League Most Valuable Player Award voting, losing to Jackie Jensen of the Boston Red Sox.[3][35]

Turley earned a $35,000 salary for the 1959 season, his highest as a baseball player.[36][37] The Yankees chose Turley to be their Opening Day starting pitcher for the 1959 season, opposing Tom Brewer of the Red Sox.[38] The Yankees won the game by a 3–2 score.[39] However, Turley's fastball began to lose its effectiveness. He increased the usage of his curveball to compensate.[30] Turley finished the year with an 8–11 win-loss record. In the 1960 season, Turley had a 9–3 win-loss record,[40] and his 3.27 ERA was the seventh best in the American League.[41] He started Game Two of the 1960 World Series against the Pirates, earning the win. He also started the deciding Game Seven, which the Pirates won, taking the series.[42]

Turley suffered troubles with his right elbow in the 1961 season, which resulted in a 3–5 win-loss record and 5.75 ERA in only 15 games pitched.[43] New manager Ralph Houk removed Turley from the starting rotation, using him as a relief pitcher.[44] Though the Yankees reached the 1961 World Series, and defeated the Cincinnati Reds four games to one, Turley did not make an appearance.[45] After seeking medical attention,[46] Turley was diagnosed with bone chips in his elbow. He underwent surgery in the offseason to remove the bone chips, and returned to the Yankees confident his performance would improve in 1962. He agreed to a salary cut, from $28,000 to $25,000.[47] However, the bone chips recurred during the 1962 season. As a result, his effectiveness was limited in 1962 as well.[48] On June 25, Turley started a game that lasted 22 innings, and a record seven hours, but was removed after recording only one out.[49] During the 1962 season, American League players elected Turley as their player representative, following Woodling's trade to the National League.[50][51] Over the season, Turley pitched to a 4.57 ERA in only 69 innings.[52] The Yankees defeated the San Francisco Giants four games to three in the 1962 World Series, but Turley was not an active participant.[53]

Los Angeles Angels, Boston Red Sox, and coaching[edit]

After the 1962 season, the Yankees sold Turley to the Los Angeles Angels for cash, in the first move made by new Yankees' general manager Roy Hamey.[48] The move was conditional; the Angels could return Turley if they were not satisfied with him. The Angels chose to retain Turley at the start of the 1963 season.[54] However, Turley struggled, and the Angels released him in July.[55] A week later, he signed with the Boston Red Sox.[56] He retired after the 1963 season, with a 101–85 win-loss record and a 3.64 ERA in 12 seasons.[21]

After the 1963 season, Turley agreed to remain with the Red Sox as their pitching coach, replacing Harry Dorish.[57] Turley spent one season as the Red Sox' pitching coach,[30] and was released at the end of the year.[58] He attempted to make a comeback with the Houston Colt .45s in 1965,[59] but did not make the team. He then agreed to become the pitching coach for the Richmond Braves of the International League, a minor leagues team in the Atlanta Braves organization in 1966,[60] but resigned before the start of the 1966 season.[61][62]

Personal[edit]

Turley moved from East St. Louis to Lutherville, Maryland in 1954, when the Browns moved to Baltimore. Though he played in Baltimore for one season, he remained in Lutherville for the remainder of his baseball career, and sent his children to the local public schools.[11]

Turley began working as a financial planner in 1957, by selling life insurance.[36] He also operated a bowling alley in Bel Air, Maryland, and an insurance firm in Baltimore.[11]

In 1977, Turley joined with Arthur L. Williams, Jr. and five others to found A. L. Williams & Associates, an insurance company.[3][63] At A. L. Williams, agents advised clients to purchase short-term, rather than long-term, life insurance, and invest the money they saved in mutual funds.[36] The company became Primerica Financial Services, and was later bought out by Citigroup in 1989.[36] He earned more money in financial services than he did as a professional baseball player. In the 1995 version of the Primerica Financial Independence Council, it states that he was paid $150,000 as a professional baseball player compared to his $2,000,000 that he earned through working with Primerica.[64] He retired from the business in 2001, and sold half of his business to his son and the other half to Lynn Webb, the company's senior national sales director.[3]

Later in his life, Turley resided in Blue Ridge, Georgia, and had a winter home on Marco Island, Florida.[3][36] Turley's hobby was real estate. He bought and sold many homes on Marco Island, including a 13,500 square feet (1,250 m2) home he built that was locally referred to as "Turley Mansion" and "Turley Castle". In total, Turley and his wife bought and sold 27 houses on Marco Island and in Naples, Florida.[3]

Turley made an appearance on It's News to Me, a current events-based game show hosted by Walter Cronkite. He was mentioned in a song called "St. Louis Browns" by Skip Battin, who was the bass guitarist of The Byrds and the New Riders of the Purple Sage. In the lyrics, Battin describes Turley as a "no-hit pitcher" who "got too surly" and who was "traded...too early".[65]

Turley's uncle, Ralph, also played professional baseball. The Yankees signed Ralph Turley in 1949 when they meant to sign Bob, and released Ralph when they discovered he was the "wrong Turley".[2] Nik Turley, a Yankees prospect, identified Bob Turley as a "distant relative".[66]

Death[edit]

Turley lived in Alpharetta, Georgia for the last two years of his life.[3] He died on March 30, 2013, in hospice care at Lenbrook, a retirement community in Atlanta at age 82 from liver cancer. He is survived by his second wife, Janet; two sons, Terry and Donald; daughter, Rowena; and seventeen grandchildren.[36][67][11] Turley was cremated in Duluth, Georgia.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ocala Star-Banner – Google News Archive Search
  2. ^ a b c d e Gettysburg Times – Google News Archive Search
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Lalonde, Roger. "Bob Turley, Cy Young winner and seasonal Marco resident, dies at 82 » Naples Daily News". Naplesnews.com. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d The Milwaukee Sentinel – Google News Archive Search
  5. ^ The Telegraph-Herald – Google News Archive Search
  6. ^ The Bonham Daily Favorite – Google News Archive Search
  7. ^ a b The Southeast Missourian – Google News Archive Search
  8. ^ "BROWNS GET STAR OF COAST LEAGUE - Acquire Thomas in Deal for Sanford, Maguire, Cash- Braves Drop Mueller". The New York Times. Associated Press. October 11, 1951. Retrieved September 21, 2013.  (subscription required)
  9. ^ Waycross Journal-Herald – Google News Archive Search
  10. ^ Hirsch, Arthur (April 14, 1994). "Where Are They Now? Turley's '54 home opener as artful as his Fla. home". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c d e Duncan, Ian (March 30, 2013). "Bob Turley, former Orioles pitcher, dies". baltimoresun.com. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b The Tuscaloosa News – Google News Archive Search
  13. ^ a b The Milwaukee Journal – Google News Archive Search
  14. ^ a b c Ottawa Citizen – Google News Archive Search
  15. ^ The Milwaukee Sentinel – Google News Archive Search
  16. ^ St. Petersburg Times – Google News Archive Search
  17. ^ "Bob Turley Third In Hickok Voting". Baltimore Sun. May 18, 1954. p. 19. Retrieved September 21, 2013.  (subscription required)
  18. ^ a b "Baseball's Biggest Trade: A Revisionist's Recounting". Research.sabr.org. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  19. ^ The Day – Google News Archive Search
  20. ^ The Day – Google News Archive Search
  21. ^ a b Duncan, Ian (March 31, 2013). "Bob Turley, hard-throwing pitcher who played for Orioles and Yankees, dies at 82 – Washington Post". Articles.washingtonpost.com. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  22. ^ a b Ottawa Citizen – Google News Archive Search
  23. ^ "1955 American League Pitching Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  24. ^ Oxnard Press-Courier – Google News Archive Search
  25. ^ "1955 World Series – Brooklyn Dodgers over New York Yankees (4–3)". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  26. ^ Antonen, Mel (October 21, 2005). "USATODAY.com – Starters strong suit for Astros and White Sox". Usatoday30.usatoday.com. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  27. ^ "1956 World Series – New York Yankees over Brooklyn Dodgers (4–3)". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  28. ^ "1957 American League Pitching Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  29. ^ a b "1957 World Series – Milwaukee Braves over New York Yankees (4–3)". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  30. ^ a b c "TURLEY COMING TO CY YOUNG DAYS FESTIVAL". newcomerstown-news.com. Retrieved March 31, 2013. 
  31. ^ "1958 American League Pitching Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  32. ^ a b c d e McCarron, Anthony (October 21, 2010). "Former Yankees Cy Young Award-winner Bob Turley says Bombers should follow Derek Jeter's advice". New York Daily News. Retrieved October 23, 2010. 
  33. ^ Gadsden Times – Google News Archive Search
  34. ^ The Milwaukee Sentinel – Google News Archive Search
  35. ^ "1958 Awards Voting". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  36. ^ a b c d e f Will Kimmey (August 27, 2001). "Bob Turley, Yankees Pitcher – 08.27.01 – SI Vault". Sportsillustrated.cnn.com. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Substantial Raise Given Bob Turley". The Hartford Courant. January 30, 1959. p. 25A. Retrieved September 18, 2013.  (subscription required)
  38. ^ Meriden Journal – Google News Archive Search
  39. ^ "New York Yankees Opening Day Starters". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  40. ^ The Milwaukee Journal – Google News Archive Search
  41. ^ "1960 American League Pitching Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  42. ^ "1960 World Series – Pittsburgh Pirates over New York Yankees (4–3)". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  43. ^ Toledo Blade – Google News Archive Search
  44. ^ The Washington Reporter – Google News Archive Search
  45. ^ "1961 World Series – New York Yankees over Cincinnati Reds (4–1)". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  46. ^ Drebinger, John (June 6, 1961). "Yanks Take Double-Header and Send Twins to 10th, 11th Straight Defeats – COATES, SHELDON TRIUMPH, 6–2, 6–1 Yankees Set League Mark as Blanchard, Mantle and Kubek Wallop Homers". Select.nytimes.com. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  47. ^ The Milwaukee Sentinel – Google News Archive Search
  48. ^ a b Prescott Evening Courier – Google News Archive Search
  49. ^ The Tuscaloosa News – Google News Archive Search
  50. ^ Sheehan, Joseph M. (July 10, 1962). "A SHORTER SEASON ASKED BY PLAYERS - Representatives Also Seek 2 All-Star Games in 1963". The New York Times. Retrieved September 21, 2013.  (subscription required)
  51. ^ The Bonham Daily Favorite – Google News Archive Search
  52. ^ Edmonton Journal – Google News Archive Search
  53. ^ "1962 World Series – New York Yankees over San Francisco Giants (4–3)". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  54. ^ Daytona Beach Morning Journal – Google News Archive Search
  55. ^ The Bulletin – Google News Archive Search
  56. ^ The Miami News – Google News Archive Search
  57. ^ The Pittsburgh Press – Google News Archive Search
  58. ^ Hurwitz, Hy (October 5, 1964). "Gardner, Okrie Also Join Coaching Staff: Herman Names Maglie, Runnels". Boston Globe. p. 19. Retrieved September 21, 2013.  (subscription required)
  59. ^ The Spokesman-Review – Google News Archive Search
  60. ^ Herald-Journal – Google News Archive Search
  61. ^ "Bob Turley Resigns as Minor Loop Coach". Los Angeles Times. February 19, 1966. p. A4. Retrieved September 18, 2013.  (subscription required)
  62. ^ The Tuscaloosa News – Google News Archive Search
  63. ^ "Former New York Yankees pitcher 'Bullet' Bob Turley still calls them as he sees them". NY Daily News. June 19, 2010. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  64. ^ "Bob Turley". d21c.com. Retrieved March 31, 2013. 
  65. ^ "Former St. Louis Browns Pitcher Bob Turley Dies « CBS St. Louis". Stlouis.cbslocal.com. March 31, 2013. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  66. ^ New Jersey (September 11, 2013). "Franklin: Trenton Thunder's Nik Turley has family tree rooted in athletes". NJ.com. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  67. ^ "Bob Turley, Pitcher With a Blazing Fastball, Dies at 82". NY Times. Retrieved March 31, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Harry Dorish
Boston Red Sox Pitching Coach
1964
Succeeded by
Mace Brown