Sunday, March 31, 2013

Bob Turley, '58 World Series Hero, Succumbs at 82

Bullet Bob Turley had a season for the ages in 1958. He was an All-Star, won the American League Cy Young Award and finished second in the AL MVP vote to Jackie Jensen. Turley then went on to nearly single-handedly rally the Yankees from a three games to one deficit to the Milwaukee Braves to win the World Series. Unfortunately, the now 82-year old could not defeat liver cancer and passed away Saturday morning, according his son Terry.

Turley signed with the St. Louis Browns right out of high school in 1948 and made his Major League debut with them in 1951. After Turley missed the '52 season due to military service, he re-joined the Browns in 1953 and picked up his first Major League win against the Chicago White Sox in August.

A year later the team moved to Baltimore and became the Orioles. Turley pitched the first Orioles' home game and won 14 games on the year. He also led the league with 188 strikeouts. On November 17, 1954 Turley was part of the record 17 player deal between the Orioles and Yankees. The trade would take two weeks to finalize, because all of the player to be named later aspects of the deal. Don Larsen was one of the players also sent to New York.(Ironically Gus Triandos, who passed away two days ago, also at age 82, was dealt to the Orioles.)

Turley spent the majority of his time in the Bronx as a starter, but it was his versatility to come out of the bullpen in the '58 Fall classic that made him famous After a league best 21 wins and 19 complete games in the regular season, Turley didn't make it out of the first inning in Game 2 of the World Series He retired just one hitter and was charged with four runs in the Braves 13-5 win that put them up 2-0 in the best of seven.

With the Braves one win away from their second straight title against the Yankees, Turley tossed a 5-hit, 10-strikeout complete game shutout in Game 5. He then came back in Game 6 to get the final out, with the tying and winning runs on bases in the bottom of the 10, to preserve Ryne Duren's win and even the series as three games apiece.

Larsen started Game 7, but with the Yankees ahead 2-1 in the third inning and two men aboard, manager Casey Stengel yanked his starter for Turley. The Braves tied the game, but Turley tossed shutout ball the rest  of the way. Meanwhile, the Yankees scored four times in the 8th inning (three of them on a Bill Skowron home run) and won the World Series. With two wins and a save in the final three games, Turley added the World Series MVP Award to his resume.

Turley remained with the Yankees until he was sold to the Los Angeles Angels after the 1962 season. He split the year  with the Angels and Boston Red Sox and played one final season with the Red Sox in 1963 before he retired.

Turley moved into the financial field after baseball and had other business pursuits. He is survived by his Janet, his sons Terry and Don, his daughter Rowena, and numerous grandchildren. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

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