Jim Turner (baseball)
August 6, 1903|
|Died: November 29, 1998
|April 30, 1937, for the Boston Bees|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 13, 1945, for the New York Yankees|
|Earned run average||3.22|
|Career highlights and awards|
James Riley Turner (August 6, 1903 – November 29, 1998) was a pitcher and coach in Major League Baseball. As a member of the Reds and Yankees, he was a member of nine World Series Championship teams between 1940 and 1959, two as a player and seven as a coach. Most notably, he was pitching coach for the New York Yankees under Casey Stengel from 1949 to 1959, during which time they won seven titles. Apart from his baseball career, Turner was a lifelong resident of Nashville, Tennessee.
From 1937 through 1945, he played for the Boston Bees (1937–39), Cincinnati Reds (1940–42) and New York Yankees (1942–45). Turner's Major League career got off to a late start, as he did not reach the big leagues until he was 33 years old. He led the National League in earned run average in 1937 as a rookie with Boston. Because he worked for his family's dairy farm in the offseason in Antioch, Tennessee, he was known as "Milkman Jim" to his fans.
For his career, Turner compiled a 69–60 record in 231 games, with a 3.22 earned run average and 329 strikeouts. He was a member of two World Series championship teams, the 1940 Reds and the 1943 Yankees, as well as the 1942 Yankees team that won the American League pennant. In two postseason appearances, Turner was 0–1 with a 6.43 ERA and 4 strikeouts in 7 innings pitched.
After his pitching career ended, Turner served the Yankees (1949–59; 1966–73) and Reds (1961–65) as their pitching coach, working for ten pennant-winning clubs over that 24-year span. He also managed the Beaumont Exporters (1946), Portland Beavers (1947–48) and Nashville Volunteers (1960).
Turner was criticized by Jim Bouton in his book, Ball Four. Bouton claimed Turner (his pitching coach with the Yankees from 1966 to 1968) was a front-runner, who only wanted to be associated with successful pitchers. "In case you forgot", Bouton wrote, "you could always tell how you were doing by the way The Colonel [Turner] said good morning", citing that Turner would greet his stars effusively, middling pitchers brusquely, and with struggling pitchers he would "[look] past you, over your shoulder, as if you didn't exist." Bouton also criticized Turner for yelling obvious advice (such as "keep the ball down") from the dugout to a pitcher on the mound, as a preemptive second-guess. Bouton noted that pitchers know these principles already, and all the shouting can do is break their concentration. "But pitching coaches use shouted advice as protection. If they shout enough advice, they can't be wrong."
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference
|New York Yankees Pitching Coach
|Cincinnati Reds Pitching Coach