Hy Turkin

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1952 Baseball Encyclopedia

Hy Turkin (May 9, 1915 in New York, New York – June 24, 1955) was a sportswriter best known for co-editing the first baseball encyclopedia.

Turkin was born in New York, one of seven children. He joined the staff of the New York Daily News after graduating from Cooper Union in 1936 with a degree in electrical engineering. Turkin covered baseball, basketball, and track for the paper.

Baseball Encyclopedia[edit]

A chance meeting with baseball researcher S.C. Thompson in 1944 led the two to collaborate on what would become the first true baseball encyclopedia. Published by A.S. Barnes in 1951, the book contained a complete listing of every man who had played Major League Baseball, along with the years they had played, the teams they had played for, and some basic statistics. It was a remarkable contribution to the field of baseball history.

The book earned the endorsement of Commissioner A.B. "Happy" Chandler, and nine revised editions were published after Turkin's death (the last in 1979).

Other[edit]

Turkin was one of the founders of the National Foundation for Muscular Dystrophy. He was married to the former Florence Kerr, and the couple had a daughter named Margery.

Death[edit]

Turkin died at the age of 40, following a six-month battle with liver disease. New York Times writer Arthur Daley described him as "a bustling little dynamo with an inquisitive turn of mind."

There is a Little League baseball field called the Hy Turkin Memorial Field in Dongan Hills, Staten Island, New York.

Legacy[edit]

Following Turkin's death, the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association named a new annual award after him. The Hy Turkin Memorial Award is given annually to professional basketball's rookie of the year.

References[edit]

  • Schwarz, Alan (2004). The Numbers Game: Baseball's Lifelong Fascination with Statistics. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-312-32222-9.